Fair Recommender Systems

In this project, we are investigating several questions of fairness and bias in recommender systems:

  • What does it mean for a recommender to be fair, unfair, or biased?
  • What potentially discriminatory biases are present in the recommender’s input data, algorithmic structure, or output?
  • How do these biases change over time through the recommender-user feedback loop?

This is a part of our overall, ongoing goal to help make recommenders (and other AI systems) better for the people they affect.

Blog Posts and Other Coverage


Workshops and Meetings

I have been involved with several workshops, sessions, etc. related to fair recommendation.


Omer Kirnap, Fernando Diaz, Asia J. Biega, Michael D. Ekstrand, Ben Carterette, and Emine Yilmaz. 2021. Estimation of Fair Ranking Metrics with Incomplete Judgments. To appear in Proceedings of The Web Conference 2021 (TheWebConf 2021). ACM. Acceptance rate: 21%.

Fernando Diaz, Bhaskar Mitra, Michael D. Ekstrand, Asia J. Biega, and Ben Carterette. 2020. Evaluating Stochastic Rankings with Expected Exposure. In Proceedings of the 29th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM '20). ACM, pp. 275–284. DOI 10.1145/3340531.3411962. arXiv:2004.13157 [cs.IR]. NSF PAR 10199451. Acceptance rate: 20%.Nominated for Best Long Paper.

altmetric score 17.95

Amifa Raj, Connor Wood, Ananda Montoly, and Michael D. Ekstrand. 2020. Comparing Fair Ranking Metrics. Presented at the 3rd FAccTrec Workshop on Offline Evaluation for Recommender Systems. arXiv:2009.01311 [cs.IR].

altmetric score 8.5

Asia J. Biega, Fernando Diaz, Michael D. Ekstrand, and Sebastian Kohlmeier. 2020. Overview of the TREC 2019 Fair Ranking Track. In The Twenty-Eighth Text REtrieval Conference (TREC 2019) Proceedings (TREC 2019). arXiv:2003.11650.

altmetric score 1.25

Adam Roegiest, Aldo Lipani, Alex Beutel, Alexandra Olteanu, Ana Lucic, Ana-Andreea Stoica, Anubrata Das, Asia Biega, Bart Voorn, Claudia Hauff, Damiano Spina, David Lewis, Douglas W Oard, Emine Yilmaz, Faegheh Hasibi, Gabriella Kazai, Graham McDonald, Hinda Haned, Iadh Ounis, Ilse van der Linden, Jean Garcia-Gathright, Joris Baan, Kamuela N Lau, Krisztian Balog, Maarten de Rijke, Mahmoud Sayed, Maria Panteli, Mark Sanderson, Matthew Lease, Michael D. Ekstrand, Preethi Lahoti, and Toshihiro Kamishima. 2019. FACTS-IR: Fairness, Accountability, Confidentiality, Transparency, and Safety in Information Retrieval. SIGIR Forum 53(2) (December 2019), 20–43.

Michael D. Ekstrand, Mucun Tian, Mohammed R. Imran Kazi, Hoda Mehrpouyan, and Daniel Kluver. 2018. Exploring Author Gender in Book Rating and Recommendation. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys '18). ACM, pp. 242–250. DOI 10.1145/3240323.3240373. arXiv:1808.07586v1 [cs.IR]. Acceptance rate: 17.5%.

altmetric score 13.33

Michael D. Ekstrand, Mucun Tian, Ion Madrazo Azpiazu, Jennifer D. Ekstrand, Oghenemaro Anuyah, David McNeill, and Maria Soledad Pera. 2018. All The Cool Kids, How Do They Fit In?: Popularity and Demographic Biases in Recommender Evaluation and Effectiveness. In Proceedings of the 1st Conference on Fairness, Accountability and Transparency (FAT* 2018). PMLR, Proceedings of Machine Learning Research 81:172–186. Acceptance rate: 24%.

Michael D. Ekstrand and Maria Soledad Pera. 2017. The Demographics of Cool: Popularity and Recommender Performance for Different Groups of Users. In RecSys 2017 Poster Proceedings. CEUR, Workshop Proceedings 1905.

Workshop Summaries

Alexandra Olteanu, Jean Garcia-Gathright, Maarten de Rijke, and Michael D. Ekstrand. 2019. Workshop on Fairness, Accountability, Confidentiality, Transparency, and Safety in Information Retrieval (FACTS-IR). In Proceedings of the 42nd International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR '19). ACM. DOI 10.1145/3331184.3331644.

Unresolved citation fairumap2

Toshihiro Kamishima, Pierre-Nicolas Schwab, and Michael D. Ekstrand. 2018. 2nd FATREC Workshop: Responsible Recommendation. In Proceedings of the 12th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys '18). ACM. DOI 10.1145/3240323.3240335.

Bamshad Mobasher, Robin Burke, Michael D. Ekstrand, and Bettina Berendt. 2018. UMAP 2018 Fairness in User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (FairUMAP 2018) Chairs' Welcome & Organization. In Adjunct Publication of the 26th Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation, and Personalization (UMAP '18). ACM. DOI 10.1145/3213586.3226200.

Michael D. Ekstrand and Amit Sharma. 2017. The FATREC Workshop on Responsible Recommendation. In Proceedings of the 11th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys '17). ACM. DOI 10.1145/3109859.3109960.