Optimization and Algorithms 2

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Tue 20 July 18:00 - 18:20 PDT
Network Inference and Influence Maximization from Samples

Wei Chen · Xiaoming Sun · Jialin Zhang · Zhijie Zhang

Influence maximization is the task of selecting a small number of seed nodes in a social network to maximize the spread of the influence from these seeds, and it has been widely investigated in the past two decades. In the canonical setting, the whole social network as well as its diffusion parameters is given as input. In this paper, we consider the more realistic sampling setting where the network is unknown and we only have a set of passively observed cascades that record the set of activated nodes at each diffusion step. We study the task of influence maximization from these cascade samples (IMS), and present constant approximation algorithms for this task under mild conditions on the seed set distribution. To achieve the optimization goal, we also provide a novel solution to the network inference problem, that is, learning diffusion parameters and the network structure from the cascade data. Comparing with prior solutions, our network inference algorithm requires weaker assumptions and does not rely on maximum-likelihood estimation and convex programming. Our IMS algorithms enhance the learning-and-then-optimization approach by allowing a constant approximation ratio even when the diffusion parameters are hard to learn, and we do not need any assumption related to the network structure or diffusion parameters.

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Tue 20 July 18:20 - 18:25 PDT
Regularized Submodular Maximization at Scale

Ehsan Kazemi · shervin minaee · Moran Feldman · Amin Karbasi

In this paper, we propose scalable methods for maximizing a regularized submodular function $f \triangleq g-\ell$ expressed as the difference between a monotone submodular function $g$ and a modular function $\ell$. Submodularity is inherently related to the notions of diversity, coverage, and representativeness. In particular, finding the mode (i.e., the most likely configuration) of many popular probabilistic models of diversity, such as determinantal point processes and strongly log-concave distributions, involves maximization of (regularized) submodular functions. Since a regularized function $f$ can potentially take on negative values, the classic theory of submodular maximization, which heavily relies on the non-negativity assumption of submodular functions, is not applicable. To circumvent this challenge, we develop the first one-pass streaming algorithm for maximizing a regularized submodular function subject to a $k$-cardinality constraint. Furthermore, we develop the first distributed algorithm that returns a solution $S$ in $O(1/ \epsilon)$ rounds of MapReduce computation. We highlight that our result, even for the unregularized case where the modular term $\ell$ is zero, improves the memory and communication complexity of the state-of-the-art by a factor of $O(1/ \epsilon)$ while arguably provides a simpler distributed algorithm and a unifying analysis. We empirically study the performance of our scalable methods on a set of real-life applications, including finding the mode of negatively correlated distributions, vertex cover of social networks, and several data summarization tasks.

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Tue 20 July 18:25 - 18:30 PDT
Marginal Contribution Feature Importance - an Axiomatic Approach for Explaining Data

Amnon Catav · Boyang Fu · Yazeed Zoabi · Ahuva Weiss Meilik · Noam Shomron · Jason Ernst · Sriram Sankararaman · Ran Gilad-Bachrach

In recent years, methods were proposed for assigning feature importance scores to measure the contribution of individual features. While in some cases the goal is to understand a specific model, in many cases the goal is to understand the contribution of certain properties (features) to a real-world phenomenon. Thus, a distinction has been made between feature importance scores that explain a model and scores that explain the data. When explaining the data, machine learning models are used as proxies in settings where conducting many real-world experiments is expensive or prohibited. While existing feature importance scores show great success in explaining models, we demonstrate their limitations when explaining the data, especially in the presence of correlations between features. Therefore, we develop a set of axioms to capture properties expected from a feature importance score when explaining data and prove that there exists only one score that satisfies all of them, the Marginal Contribution Feature Importance (MCI). We analyze the theoretical properties of this score function and demonstrate its merits empirically.

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Tue 20 July 18:30 - 18:35 PDT
Connecting Interpretability and Robustness in Decision Trees through Separation

Michal Moshkovitz · Yao-Yuan Yang · Kamalika Chaudhuri

Recent research has recognized interpretability and robustness as essential properties of trustworthy classification. Curiously, a connection between robustness and interpretability was empirically observed, but the theoretical reasoning behind it remained elusive. In this paper, we rigorously investigate this connection. Specifically, we focus on interpretation using decision trees and robustness to l_{\infty}-perturbation. Previous works defined the notion of r-separation as a sufficient condition for robustness. We prove upper and lower bounds on the tree size in case the data is r-separated. We then show that a tighter bound on the size is possible when the data is linearly separated. We provide the first algorithm with provable guarantees both on robustness, interpretability, and accuracy in the context of decision trees. Experiments confirm that our algorithm yields classifiers that are both interpretable and robust and have high accuracy.

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Tue 20 July 18:35 - 18:40 PDT
Light RUMs

Flavio Chierichetti · Ravi Kumar · Andrew Tomkins

A Random Utility Model (RUM) is a distribution on permutations over a universe of items. For each subset of the universe, a RUM induces a natural distribution of the winner in the subset: choose a permutation according to the RUM distribution and pick the maximum item in the subset according to the chosen permutation. RUMs are widely used in the theory of discrete choice. In this paper we consider the question of the (lossy) compressibility of RUMs on a universe of size $n$, i.e., the minimum number of bits required to approximate the winning probabilities of each slate. Our main result is that RUMs can be approximated using $\tilde{O}(n^2)$ bits, an exponential improvement over the standard representation; furthermore, we show that this bound is optimal. En route, we sharpen the classical existential result of McFadden and Train (2000) by showing that the minimum size of a mixture of multinomial logits required to can approximate a general RUM is $\tilde{\Theta}(n)$.

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Tue 20 July 18:40 - 18:45 PDT
Submodular Maximization subject to a Knapsack Constraint: Combinatorial Algorithms with Near-optimal Adaptive Complexity

Georgios Amanatidis · Federico Fusco · Philip Lazos · Stefano Leonardi · Alberto Marchetti-Spaccamela · Rebecca Reiffenhäuser

The growing need to deal with massive instances motivates the design of algorithms balancing the quality of the solution with applicability. For the latter, an important measure is the \emph{adaptive complexity}, capturing the number of sequential rounds of parallel computation needed. In this work we obtain the first \emph{constant factor} approximation algorithm for non-monotone submodular maximization subject to a knapsack constraint with \emph{near-optimal} $O(\log n)$ adaptive complexity. Low adaptivity by itself, however, is not enough: one needs to account for the total number of function evaluations (or value queries) as well. Our algorithm asks $\tilde{O}(n^2)$ value queries, but can be modified to run with only $\tilde{O}(n)$ instead, while retaining a low adaptive complexity of $O(\log^2n)$. Besides the above improvement in adaptivity, this is also the first \emph{combinatorial} approach with sublinear adaptive complexity for the problem and yields algorithms comparable to the state-of-the-art even for the special cases of cardinality constraints or monotone objectives. Finally, we showcase our algorithms' applicability on real-world datasets.

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Tue 20 July 18:45 - 18:50 PDT
CombOptNet: Fit the Right NP-Hard Problem by Learning Integer Programming Constraints

Anselm Paulus · Michal Rolinek · Vit Musil · Brandon Amos · Georg Martius

Bridging logical and algorithmic reasoning with modern machine learning techniques is a fundamental challenge with potentially transformative impact. On the algorithmic side, many NP-hard problems can be expressed as integer programs, in which the constraints play the role of their 'combinatorial specification'. In this work, we aim to integrate integer programming solvers into neural network architectures as layers capable of learning both the cost terms and the constraints. The resulting end-to-end trainable architectures jointly extract features from raw data and solve a suitable (learned) combinatorial problem with state-of-the-art integer programming solvers. We demonstrate the potential of such layers with an extensive performance analysis on synthetic data and with a demonstration on a competitive computer vision keypoint matching benchmark.

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Tue 20 July 18:50 - 18:55 PDT