Collaborating Authors

Tambe, Milind

Exploring Algorithmic Fairness in Robust Graph Covering Problems

Neural Information Processing Systems

Fueled by algorithmic advances, AI algorithms are increasingly being deployed in settings subject to unanticipated challenges with complex social effects. Motivated by real-world deployment of AI driven, social-network based suicide prevention and landslide risk management interventions, this paper focuses on a robust graph covering problem subject to group fairness constraints. We show that, in the absence of fairness constraints, state-of-the-art algorithms for the robust graph covering problem result in biased node coverage: they tend to discriminate individuals (nodes) based on membership in traditionally marginalized groups. To remediate this issue, we propose a novel formulation of the robust covering problem with fairness constraints and a tractable approximation scheme applicable to real world instances. We provide a formal analysis of the price of group fairness (PoF) for this problem, where we show that uncertainty can lead to greater PoF.

End to end learning and optimization on graphs

Neural Information Processing Systems

Real-world applications often combine learning and optimization problems on graphs. For instance, our objective may be to cluster the graph in order to detect meaningful communities (or solve other common graph optimization problems such as facility location, maxcut, and so on). However, graphs or related attributes are often only partially observed, introducing learning problems such as link prediction which must be solved prior to optimization. Standard approaches treat learning and optimization entirely separately, while recent machine learning work aims to predict the optimal solution directly from the inputs. Here, we propose an alternative decision-focused learning approach that integrates a differentiable proxy for common graph optimization problems as a layer in learned systems.

Diverse Randomized Agents Vote to Win

Neural Information Processing Systems

We investigate the power of voting among diverse, randomized software agents. With teams of computer Go agents in mind, we develop a novel theoretical model of two-stage noisy voting that builds on recent work in machine learning. This model allows us to reason about a collection of agents with different biases (determined by the first-stage noise models), which, furthermore, apply randomized algorithms to evaluate alternatives and produce votes (captured by the second-stage noise models). We analytically demonstrate that a uniform team, consisting of multiple instances of any single agent, must make a significant number of mistakes, whereas a diverse team converges to perfection as the number of agents grows. Our experiments, which pit teams of computer Go agents against strong agents, provide evidence for the effectiveness of voting when agents are diverse.

Solving Online Threat Screening Games using Constrained Action Space Reinforcement Learning Artificial Intelligence

Large-scale screening for potential threats with limited resources and capacity for screening is a problem of interest at airports, seaports, and other ports of entry. Adversaries can observe screening procedures and arrive at a time when there will be gaps in screening due to limited resource capacities. To capture this game between ports and adversaries, this problem has been previously represented as a Stackelberg game, referred to as a Threat Screening Game (TSG). Given the significant complexity associated with solving TSGs and uncertainty in arrivals of customers, existing work has assumed that screenees arrive and are allocated security resources at the beginning of the time window. In practice, screenees such as airport passengers arrive in bursts correlated with flight time and are not bound by fixed time windows. To address this, we propose an online threat screening model in which screening strategy is determined adaptively as a passenger arrives while satisfying a hard bound on acceptable risk of not screening a threat. To solve the online problem with a hard bound on risk, we formulate it as a Reinforcement Learning (RL) problem with constraints on the action space (hard bound on risk). We provide a novel way to efficiently enforce linear inequality constraints on the action output in Deep Reinforcement Learning. We show that our solution allows us to significantly reduce screenee wait time while guaranteeing a bound on risk.

MIPaaL: Mixed Integer Program as a Layer Artificial Intelligence

Machine learning components commonly appear in larger decision-making pipelines; however, the model training process typically focuses only on a loss that measures accuracy between predicted values and ground truth values. Decision-focused learning explicitly integrates the downstream decision problem when training the predictive model, in order to optimize the quality of decisions induced by the predictions. It has been successfully applied to several limited combinatorial problem classes, such as those that can be expressed as linear programs (LP), and submodular optimization. However, these previous applications have uniformly focused on problems from specific classes with simple constraints. Here, we enable decision-focused learning for the broad class of problems that can be encoded as a Mixed Integer Linear Program (MIP), hence supporting arbitrary linear constraints over discrete and continuous variables. We show how to differentiate through a MIP by employing a cutting planes solution approach, which is an exact algorithm that iteratively adds constraints to a continuous relaxation of the problem until an integral solution is found. We evaluate our new end-to-end approach on several real world domains and show that it outperforms the standard two phase approaches that treat prediction and prescription separately, as well as a baseline approach of simply applying decision-focused learning to the LP relaxation of the MIP.

End to end learning and optimization on graphs Machine Learning

Real-world applications often combine learning and optimization problems on graphs. For instance, our objective may be to cluster the graph in order to detect meaningful communities (or solve other common graph optimization problems such as facility location, maxcut, and so on). However, graphs or related attributes are often only partially observed, introducing learning problems such as link prediction which must be solved prior to optimization. We propose an approach to integrate a differentiable proxy for common graph optimization problems into training of machine learning models for tasks such as link prediction. This allows the model to focus specifically on the downstream task that its predictions will be used for. Experimental results show that our end-to-end system obtains better performance on example optimization tasks than can be obtained by combining state of the art link prediction methods with expert-designed graph optimization algorithms.

Stay Ahead of Poachers: Illegal Wildlife Poaching Prediction and Patrol Planning Under Uncertainty with Field Test Evaluations Artificial Intelligence

Illegal wildlife poaching threatens ecosystems and drives endangered species toward extinction. However, efforts for wildlife monitoring and protection in conservation areas are constrained by the limited resources of law enforcement agencies. To aid in wildlife protection, PAWS is an ML pipeline that has been developed as an end-to-end, data-driven approach to combat illegal poaching. PAWS assists park managers by identifying areas at high risk of poaching throughout protected areas based on real-world data and generating optimal patrol routes for deployment in the field. In this paper, we address significant challenges including extreme class imbalance (up to 1:200), bias, and uncertainty in wildlife poaching data to enhance PAWS and apply its methodology to several national parks with diverse characteristics. (i) We use Gaussian processes to quantify predictive uncertainty, which we exploit to increase the robustness of our prescribed patrols. We evaluate our approach on real-world historic poaching data from Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Parks in Uganda and, for the first time, Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. (ii) We present the results of large-scale field tests conducted in Murchison Falls and Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary which confirm that the predictive power of PAWS extends promisingly to multiple parks. This paper is part of an effort to expand PAWS to 600 parks around the world through integration with SMART conservation software.

Learning to Prescribe Interventions for Tuberculosis Patients using Digital Adherence Data Machine Learning

Digital Adherence Technologies (DATs) are an increasingly popular method for verifying patient adherence to many medications. We analyze data from one city served by 99DOTS, a phone-call-based DAT deployed for Tuberculosis (TB) treatment in India where nearly 3 million people are afflicted with the disease each year. The data contains nearly 17,000 patients and 2.1M phone calls. We lay the groundwork for learning from this real-world data, including a method for avoiding the effects of unobserved interventions in training data used for machine learning. We then construct a deep learning model, demonstrate its interpretability, and show how it can be adapted and trained in three different clinical scenarios to better target and improve patient care. In the real-time risk prediction setting our model could be used to proactively intervene with 21% more patients and before 76% more missed doses than current heuristic baselines. For outcome prediction, our model performs 40% better than baseline methods, allowing cities to target more resources to clinics with a heavier burden of patients at risk of failure. Finally, we present a case study demonstrating how our model can be trained in an end-to-end decision focused learning setting to achieve 15% better solution quality in an example decision problem faced by health workers.

Melding the Data-Decisions Pipeline: Decision-Focused Learning for Combinatorial Optimization Machine Learning

Creating impact in real-world settings requires artificial intelligence techniques to span the full pipeline from data, to predictive models, to decisions. These components are typically approached separately: a machine learning model is first trained via a measure of predictive accuracy, and then its predictions are used as input into an optimization algorithm which produces a decision. However, the loss function used to train the model may easily be misaligned with the end goal, which is to make the best decisions possible. Hand-tuning the loss function to align with optimization is a difficult and error-prone process (which is often skipped entirely). We focus on combinatorial optimization problems and introduce a general framework for decision-focused learning, where the machine learning model is directly trained in conjunction with the optimization algorithm to produce high-quality decisions. Technically, our contribution is a means of integrating discrete optimization problems into deep learning or other predictive models, which are typically trained via gradient descent. The main idea is to use a continuous relaxation of the discrete problem to propagate gradients through the optimization procedure. We instantiate this framework for two broad classes of combinatorial problems: linear programs and submodular maximization. Experimental results across a variety of domains show that decision-focused learning often leads to improved optimization performance compared to traditional methods. We find that standard measures of accuracy are not a reliable proxy for a predictive model's utility in optimization, and our method's ability to specify the true goal as the model's training objective yields substantial dividends across a range of decision problems.

Decentralized dynamic task allocation for UAVs with limited communication range Artificial Intelligence

We present the Limited-range Online Routing Problem (LORP), which involves a team of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) with limited communication range that must autonomously coordinate to service task requests. We first show a general approach to cast this dynamic problem as a sequence of decentralized task allocation problems. Then we present two solutions both based on modeling the allocation task as a Markov Random Field to subsequently assess decisions by means of the decentralized Max-Sum algorithm. Our first solution assumes independence between requests, whereas our second solution also considers the UAVs' workloads. A thorough empirical evaluation shows that our workloadbased solution consistently outperforms current state-of-the-art methods in a wide range of scenarios, lowering the average service time up to 16%. In the bestcase scenario there is no gap between our decentralized solution and centralized techniques. In the worst-case scenario we manage to reduce by 25% the gap between current decentralized and centralized techniques. Thus, our solution becomes the method of choice for our problem. Keywords: task allocation, unmanned aerial vehicles, max-sum, decentralized 1. Introduction Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are an attractive technology for largearea surveillance [1]. Today, there are readily available UAVs that are reasonably cheap, have many sensing abilities, exhibit a long endurance and can communicate using radios. UAVs have traditionally been controlled either remotely or by following externally-designed flight plans. Requiring human operators for each UAV implies a large, specialized and expensive human workforce. Likewise, letting UAVs follow externally prepared plans introduces a single point of failure (the planner) and requires UAVs with expensive (satellite) radios to maintain continuous communication with a central station. These constraints are acceptable in some application domains, other applications require more flexible techniques. For instance, consider a force of park rangers tasked with the surveillance of a large natural park. Upon reception of an emergency notification, the rangers must assess the situation as quickly as possible.