Continuous Submodular Maximization: Beyond DR-Submodularity

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Moran Feldman, Amin Karbasi


In this paper, we propose the first continuous optimization algorithms that achieve a constant factor approximation guarantee for the problem of monotone continuous submodular maximization subject to a linear constraint. We first prove that a simple variant of the vanilla coordinate ascent, called \COORDINATE-ASCENT+, achieves a $(\frac{e-1}{2e-1}-\eps)$-approximation guarantee while performing $O(n/\epsilon)$ iterations, where the computational complexity of each iteration is roughly $O(n/\sqrt{\epsilon}+n\log n)$ (here, $n$ denotes the dimension of the optimization problem). We then propose \COORDINATE-ASCENT++, that achieves the tight $(1-1/e-\eps)$-approximation guarantee while performing the same number of iterations, but at a higher computational complexity of roughly $O(n^3/\eps^{2.5} + n^3 \log n / \eps^2)$ per iteration. However, the computation of each round of \COORDINATE-ASCENT++ can be easily parallelized so that the computational cost per machine scales as $O(n/\sqrt{\epsilon}+n\log n)$.