- Working Paper
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
Continuous submodular functions are a category of generally non-convex/non-concave functions with a wide spectrum of applications. The celebrated property of this class of functions - continuous submodularity - enables both exact minimization and approximate maximization in poly. time. Continuous submodularity is obtained by generalizing the notion of submodularity from discrete domains to continuous domains. It intuitively captures a repulsive effect amongst different dimensions of the defined multivariate function. In this paper, we systematically study continuous submodularity and a class of non-convex optimization problems: continuous submodular function maximization. We start by a thorough characterization of the class of continuous submodular functions, and show that continuous submodularity is equivalent to a weak version of the diminishing returns (DR) property. Thus we also derive a subclass of continuous submodular functions, termed continuous DR-submodular functions, which enjoys the full DR property. Then we present operations that preserve continuous (DR-)submodularity, thus yielding general rules for composing new submodular functions. We establish intriguing properties for the problem of constrained DR-submodular maximization, such as the local-global relation. We identify several applications of continuous submodular optimization, ranging from influence maximization, MAP inference for DPPs to provable mean field inference. For these applications, continuous submodularity formalizes valuable domain knowledge relevant for optimizing this class of objectives. We present inapproximability results and provable algorithms for two problem settings: constrained monotone DR-submodular maximization and constrained non-monotone DR-submodular maximization. Finally, we extensively evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed algorithms. Show more
Journal / seriesarXiv
Pages / Article No.
SubjectContinuous submodularity; Continous DR-submodularity; Submodular function maximization; Provable non-convex optimization; Revenue maximization
Organisational unit03659 - Buhmann, Joachim M. / Buhmann, Joachim M.
03908 - Krause, Andreas / Krause, Andreas
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