Adaptive Submodularity: Theory and Applications in Active Learning and Stochastic Optimization

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Solving stochastic optimization problems under partial observability, where one needs to adaptively make decisions with uncertain outcomes, is a fundamental but notoriously difficult challenge. In this paper, we introduce the concept of adaptive submodularity, generalizing submodular set functions to adaptive policies. We prove that if a problem satisfies this property, a simple adaptive greedy algorithm is guaranteed to be competitive with the optimal policy. In addition to providing performance guarantees for both stochastic maximization and coverage, adaptive submodularity can be exploited to drastically speed up the greedy algorithm by using lazy evaluations. We illustrate the usefulness of the concept by giving several examples of adaptive submodular objectives arising in diverse applications including sensor placement, viral marketing and active learning. Proving adaptive submodularity for these problems allows us to recover existing results in these applications as special cases, improve approximation guarantees and handle natural generalizations.


Non-Monotone Adaptive Submodular Maximization

AAAI Conferences

A wide range of AI problems, such as sensor placement, active learning, and network influence maximization, require sequentially selecting elements from a large set with the goal of optimizing the utility of the selected subset. Moreover, each element that is picked may provide stochastic feedback, which can be used to make smarter decisions about future selections. Finding efficient policies for this general class of adaptive optimization problems can be extremely hard. However, when the objective function is adaptive monotone and adaptive submodular, a simple greedy policy attains a 1-1/e approximation ratio in terms of expected utility. Unfortunately, many practical objective functions are naturally non-monotone; to our knowledge, no existing policy has provable performance guarantees when the assumption of adaptive monotonicity is lifted. We propose the adaptive random greedy policy for maximizing adaptive submodular functions, and prove that it retains the aforementioned 1-1/e approximation ratio for functions that are also adaptive monotone, while it additionally provides a 1/e approximation ratio for non-monotone adaptive submodular functions. We showcase the benefits of adaptivity on three real-world network data sets using two non-monotone functions, representative of two classes of commonly encountered non-monotone objectives.


Adaptive Submodularity: Theory and Applications in Active Learning and Stochastic Optimization

AAAI Conferences

Many problems in artificial intelligence require adaptively making a sequence of decisions with uncertain outcomes under partial observability. Solving such stochastic optimization problems is a fundamental but notoriously difficult challenge. In this paper, we introduce the concept of adaptive submodularity, generalizing submodular set functions to adaptive policies. We prove that if a problem satisfies this property, a simple adaptive greedy algorithm is guaranteed to be competitive with the optimal policy. In addition to providing performance guarantees for both stochastic maximization and coverage, adaptive submodularity can be exploited to drastically speed up the greedy algorithm by using lazy evaluations. We illustrate the usefulness of the concept by giving several examples of adaptive submodular objectives arising in diverse AI applications including management of sensing resources, viral marketing and active learning. Proving adaptive submodularity for these problems allows us to recover existing results in these applications as special cases, improve approximation guarantees and handle natural generalizations.


Adaptive Submodularity: Theory and Applications in Active Learning and Stochastic Optimization

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Many problems in artificial intelligence require adaptively making a sequence of decisions with uncertain outcomes under partial observability. Solving such stochastic optimization problems is a fundamental but notoriously difficult challenge. In this paper, we introduce the concept of adaptive submodularity, generalizing submodular set functions to adaptive policies. We prove that if a problem satisfies this property, a simple adaptive greedy algorithm is guaranteed to be competitive with the optimal policy. In addition to providing performance guarantees for both stochastic maximization and coverage, adaptive submodularity can be exploited to drastically speed up the greedy algorithm by using lazy evaluations. We illustrate the usefulness of the concept by giving several examples of adaptive submodular objectives arising in diverse AI applications including management of sensing resources, viral marketing and active learning. Proving adaptive submodularity for these problems allows us to recover existing results in these applications as special cases, improve approximation guarantees and handle natural generalizations.


Submodular Streaming in All its Glory: Tight Approximation, Minimum Memory and Low Adaptive Complexity

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Streaming algorithms are generally judged by the quality of their solution, memory footprint, and computational complexity. In this paper, we study the problem of maximizing a monotone submodular function in the streaming setting with a cardinality constraint $k$. We first propose Sieve-Streaming++, which requires just one pass over the data, keeps only $O(k)$ elements and achieves the tight $(1/2)$-approximation guarantee. The best previously known streaming algorithms either achieve a suboptimal $(1/4)$-approximation with $\Theta(k)$ memory or the optimal $(1/2)$-approximation with $O(k\log k)$ memory. Next, we show that by buffering a small fraction of the stream and applying a careful filtering procedure, one can heavily reduce the number of adaptive computational rounds, thus substantially lowering the computational complexity of Sieve-Streaming++. We then generalize our results to the more challenging multi-source streaming setting. We show how one can achieve the tight $(1/2)$-approximation guarantee with $O(k)$ shared memory while minimizing not only the required rounds of computations but also the total number of communicated bits. Finally, we demonstrate the efficiency of our algorithms on real-world data summarization tasks for multi-source streams of tweets and of YouTube videos.