Keywords: Submodular maximization, query complexity, cardinality constraint, Knapsack constraint, p-set system constraint, information-theoretic lower bound
TL;DR: In this paper, after 44 years and building on a large body of prior work, we nearly resolved the problem of “query complexity of maximizing a submodular function” and portrayed a nearly complete picture of the landscape.
Abstract: In this paper, we provide the first deterministic algorithm that achieves $1/2$-approximation for monotone submodular maximization subject to a knapsack constraint, while making a number of queries that scales only linearly with the size of the ground set $n$. Moreover, our result automatically paves the way for developing a linear-time deterministic algorithm that achieves the tight $1-1/e$ approximation guarantee for monotone submodular maximization under a cardinality (size) constraint. To complement our positive results, we also show strong information-theoretic lower bounds. More specifically, we show that when the maximum cardinality allowed for a solution is constant, no deterministic or randomized algorithm making a sub-linear number of function evaluations can guarantee any constant approximation ratio. Furthermore, when the constraint allows the selection of a constant fraction of the ground set, we show that any algorithm making fewer than $\Omega(n/\log(n))$ function evaluations cannot perform better than an algorithm that simply outputs a uniformly random subset of the ground set of the right size. We extend our results to the general case of maximizing a monotone submodular function subject to the intersection of a $p$-set system and multiple knapsack constraints. Finally, we evaluate the performance of our algorithms on multiple real-life applications, including movie recommendation, location summarization, Twitter text summarization, and video summarization.
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