Introducing the Expohedron for Efficient Pareto-optimal Fairness-Utility Amortizations in Repeated Rankings

by   Till Kletti, et al.

We consider the problem of computing a sequence of rankings that maximizes consumer-side utility while minimizing producer-side individual unfairness of exposure. While prior work has addressed this problem using linear or quadratic programs on bistochastic matrices, such approaches, relying on Birkhoff-von Neumann (BvN) decompositions, are too slow to be implemented at large scale. In this paper we introduce a geometrical object, a polytope that we call expohedron, whose points represent all achievable exposures of items for a Position Based Model (PBM). We exhibit some of its properties and lay out a Carathéodory decomposition algorithm with complexity O(n^2log(n)) able to express any point inside the expohedron as a convex sum of at most n vertices, where n is the number of items to rank. Such a decomposition makes it possible to express any feasible target exposure as a distribution over at most n rankings. Furthermore we show that we can use this polytope to recover the whole Pareto frontier of the multi-objective fairness-utility optimization problem, using a simple geometrical procedure with complexity O(n^2log(n)). Our approach compares favorably to linear or quadratic programming baselines in terms of algorithmic complexity and empirical runtime and is applicable to any merit that is a non-decreasing function of item relevance. Furthermore our solution can be expressed as a distribution over only n permutations, instead of the (n-1)^2 + 1 achieved with BvN decompositions. We perform experiments on synthetic and real-world datasets, confirming our theoretical results.


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