Collaborative Research: III: Medium: Towards Effective Detection and Mitigation for Shortcut Learning: A Data Modeling Framework

Project: Research project

Project Details


Generalization of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) has become a challenging problem. Many DNNs do not remain predictive when the distribution of data changes or there are small disturbances in the input. A major reason for this challenge is shortcut learning, which refer to decisions based on relationships in the data that exist, but which are not causal. These decisions fail when the model is transferred to real-world scenarios because of spurious correlations. This project is to investigate shortcut identification and mitigation in deep learning. The successful outcome of this research will lead to advances in providing theoretical understandings, and developing robust and generalizable DNN algorithms to analyze datasets with various types of shortcuts. The education program that integrates machine learning, industrial engineering, and health informatics is to train students with essential data analytics tools in information systems, to attract, mentor and retain members from underrepresented groups.The primary goal of this project is to systematically investigate the identification and mitigation of shortcut features from a data-centric perspective to facilitate the generalization of deep learning. The developed data-centric mechanisms could be directly adopted in real-world data analytics systems. Specifically, this project studies shortcut identification and detection at different levels, including instance-, feature-, and task-levels, and then performs shortcut mitigation through data augmentation and training regularization. This project also demonstrates how the proposed research innovations could be embedded in two DNN based real medical informatics systems. The proposed frameworks uncover the intrinsic properties of shortcut learning by calibrating shortcut features from different categories of distribution shift, and enable their comprehension and adoption for researchers and practitioners.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date10/1/239/30/27


  • National Science Foundation: $400,000.00


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