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Workshop: Workshop on Socially Responsible Machine Learning

CrossWalk: Fairness-enhanced Node Representation Learning

Ahmad Khajehnejad · Moein Khajehnejad · Krishna Gummadi · Adrian Weller · Baharan Mirzasoleiman


The potential for machine learning systems to amplify social inequities and unfairness is receiving increasing popular and academic attention. However, there is little work on enhancing fairness in graph algorithms. Here, we develop a simple, effective and general method, CrossWalk, that enhances fairness of various graph algorithms, including influence maximization, link prediction and node classification, applied to node embeddings. CrossWalk is applicable to any random walk based node representation learning algorithm, such as DeepWalk and Node2Vec. The key idea is to bias random walks to cross group boundaries, by upweighting edges which (1) are closer to the groups' peripheries or (2) connect different groups in the network. It pulls nodes that are near groups' peripheries towards their neighbors from other groups in the embedding space, while preserving the necessary structural information from the graph. Extensive experiments show the effectiveness of our algorithm to enhance fairness in various graph algorithms in synthetic and real networks, with only a very small decrease in performance.

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