State-Visitation Fairness in Average-Reward MDPs

02/14/2021 ∙ by Ganesh Ghalme, et al. ∙ 0

Fairness has emerged as an important concern in automated decision-making in recent years, especially when these decisions affect human welfare. In this work, we study fairness in temporally extended decision-making settings, specifically those formulated as Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Our proposed notion of fairness ensures that each state's long-term visitation frequency is more than a specified fraction. In an average-reward MDP (AMDP) setting, we formulate the problem as a bilinear saddle point program and, for a generative model, solve it using a Stochastic Mirror Descent (SMD) based algorithm. The proposed solution guarantees a simultaneous approximation on the expected average-reward and the long-term state-visitation frequency. We validate our theoretical results with experiments on synthetic data.

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