Chih Award Winner's Research Enhances Fairness in Machine Learning

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Fair treatment for all. Hantian Zhang, Ph.D. Computer Science student, is working on a machine learning model that creates a more just society. Zhang’s machine learning model, OmniFair, advocates for consistent treatment across diverse demographic groups. 

Creating an Unbiased Computer Algorithm

Zhang’s OmniFair paper was published in SIGMOD 2021, a top-tier conference in data management. OmniFair distinguishes itself by featuring a declarative interface that empowers users to define specific group fairness constraints. Subsequently, Zhang developed iFlipper, a pioneering system that optimizes for individual fairness in machine learning, which was presented in SIGMOD 2023. 

As machine learning models become more deeply integrated into our decision-making process, my research endeavors to foster a more just society,” said Zhang. “Be refining these models to be more fair, we diminish the potential biases, especially against minority groups, ensuring a fairer treatment for all.

According to Zhang, more and more decisions are made by computer algorithms instead of by a human. His research can be used by companies to ensure that their model is fair. 

“People should be treated equally regardless of their race, gender, and sexual orientation,” said Zhang. “I feel the importance to make sure that machines are making fair decisions. We talked to Walmart about using our algorithm in their platform to improve fairness of machine learning models used in the platform, which could potentially benefit millions of vendors and customers.” 

Chih Award Funds Encourages Research Initiatives

Zhang’s published works earned a Chih Foundation Graduate Student Research Publication award. 

Zhang is one of four graduate students awarded the 2023 Chih Foundation Graduate Student Research Publication. Congratulations to the following 2023 Chih Foundation Graduate Student Research Publication award recipients: Andrés-Felipe Castro Méndez, Dongsuk Sung, Hantian Zhang, and Vanessa Oguamanam. 

Each awardee receives $2,500 to pursue their research. 

“It is a great honor to receive the award,” said Zhang. “I am very grateful for Dr. Sam Chih and the award committee. It confirms that my research is interesting and meaningful. It also encourages me to keep working on my research and produce more impactful outcomes.” 

The Foundation awards graduate students whose research publication(s) reflect invention and innovation for the betterment of society. 


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:Sara Franc
  • Created:12/20/2023
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:03/20/2024