Submodular + Concave

Siddharth Mitra · Moran Feldman · Amin Karbasi

Keywords: [ Optimization ]

Abstract: It has been well established that first order optimization methods can converge to the maximal objective value of concave functions and provide constant factor approximation guarantees for (non-convex/non-concave) continuous submodular functions. In this work, we initiate the study of the maximization of functions of the form $F(x) = G(x) +C(x)$ over a solvable convex body $P$, where $G$ is a smooth DR-submodular function and $C$ is a smooth concave function. This class of functions is a strict extension of both concave and continuous DR-submodular functions for which no theoretical guarantee is known. We provide a suite of Frank-Wolfe style algorithms, which, depending on the nature of the objective function (i.e., if $G$ and $C$ are monotone or not, and non-negative or not) and on the nature of the set $P$ (i.e., whether it is downward closed or not), provide $1-1/e$, $1/e$, or $1/2$ approximation guarantees. We then use our algorithms to get a framework to smoothly interpolate between choosing a diverse set of elements from a given ground set (corresponding to the mode of a determinantal point process) and choosing a clustered set of elements (corresponding to the maxima of a suitable concave function). Additionally, we apply our algorithms to various functions in the above class (DR-submodular + concave) in both constrained and unconstrained settings, and show that our algorithms consistently outperform natural baselines.

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