Evaluating the Fairness of Fine-Tuning Strategies in Self-Supervised Learning
authors Jason Ramapuram*, Dan Busbridge*, Russ Webb
In this work we examine how fine-tuning impacts the fairness of contrastive Self-Supervised Learning (SSL) models. Our findings indicate that Batch Normalization (BN) statistics play a crucial role, and that updating only the BN statistics of a pre-trained SSL backbone improves its downstream fairness (36% worst subgroup, 25% mean subgroup gap). This procedure is competitive with supervised learning, while taking 4.4x less time to train and requiring only 0.35% as many parameters to be updated. Finally, inspired by recent work in supervised learning, we find that updating BN statistics and training residual skip connections (12.3% of the parameters) achieves parity with a fully fine-tuned model, while taking 1.33x less time to train.