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Adam Lechowicz, Nicolas Christianson, Bo Sun, Noman Bashir, Mohammad Hajiesmaili, Adam Wierman, Prashant Shenoy

We introduce and study a family of online metric problems with long-term constraints. In these problems, an online player makes decisions $\mathbf{x}_t$ in a metric space $(X,d)$ to simultaneously minimize their hitting cost $f_t(\mathbf{x}_t)$ and switching cost as determined by the metric. Over the time horizon $T$, the player must satisfy a long-term demand constraint $\sum_{t} c(\mathbf{x}_t) \geq 1$, where $c(\mathbf{x}_t)$ denotes the fraction of demand satisfied at time $t$. Such problems can find a wide array of applications to online resource allocation in sustainable energy and computing systems. We devise optimal competitive and learning-augmented algorithms for specific instantiations of these problems, and further show that our proposed algorithms perform well in numerical experiments.

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Adam Lechowicz, Nicolas Christianson, Bo Sun, Noman Bashir, Mohammad Hajiesmaili, Adam Wierman, Prashant Shenoy

We introduce and study online conversion with switching costs, a family of online problems that capture emerging problems at the intersection of energy and sustainability. In this problem, an online player attempts to purchase (alternatively, sell) fractional shares of an asset during a fixed time horizon with length $T$. At each time step, a cost function (alternatively, price function) is revealed, and the player must irrevocably decide an amount of asset to convert. The player also incurs a switching cost whenever their decision changes in consecutive time steps, i.e., when they increase or decrease their purchasing amount. We introduce competitive (robust) threshold-based algorithms for both the minimization and maximization variants of this problem, and show they are optimal among deterministic online algorithms. We then propose learning-augmented algorithms that take advantage of untrusted black-box advice (such as predictions from a machine learning model) to achieve significantly better average-case performance without sacrificing worst-case competitive guarantees. Finally, we empirically evaluate our proposed algorithms using a carbon-aware EV charging case study, showing that our algorithms substantially improve on baseline methods for this problem.

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Bo Sun, Jerry Huang, Nicolas Christianson, Mohammad Hajiesmaili, Adam Wierman

Online algorithms with predictions have become a trending topic in the field of beyond worst-case analysis of algorithms. These algorithms incorporate predictions about the future to obtain performance guarantees that are of high quality when the predictions are good, while still maintaining bounded worst-case guarantees when predictions are arbitrarily poor. In general, the algorithm is assumed to be unaware of the prediction's quality. However, recent developments in the machine learning literature have studied techniques for providing uncertainty quantification on machine-learned predictions, which describes how certain a model is about its quality. This paper examines the question of how to optimally utilize uncertainty-quantified predictions in the design of online algorithms. In particular, we consider predictions augmented with uncertainty quantification describing the likelihood of the ground truth falling in a certain range, designing online algorithms with these probabilistic predictions for two classic online problems: ski rental and online search. In each case, we demonstrate that non-trivial modifications to algorithm design are needed to fully leverage the probabilistic predictions. Moreover, we consider how to utilize more general forms of uncertainty quantification, proposing a framework based on online learning that learns to exploit uncertainty quantification to make optimal decisions in multi-instance settings.

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Nicolas Christianson, Tinashe Handina, Adam Wierman

We consider the problem of convex function chasing with black-box advice, where an online decision-maker aims to minimize the total cost of making and switching between decisions in a normed vector space, aided by black-box advice such as the decisions of a machine-learned algorithm. The decision-maker seeks cost comparable to the advice when it performs well, known as $\textit{consistency}$, while also ensuring worst-case $\textit{robustness}$ even when the advice is adversarial. We first consider the common paradigm of algorithms that switch between the decisions of the advice and a competitive algorithm, showing that no algorithm in this class can improve upon 3-consistency while staying robust. We then propose two novel algorithms that bypass this limitation by exploiting the problem's convexity. The first, INTERP, achieves $(\sqrt{2}+\epsilon)$-consistency and $\mathcal{O}(\frac{C}{\epsilon^2})$-robustness for any $\epsilon > 0$, where $C$ is the competitive ratio of an algorithm for convex function chasing or a subclass thereof. The second, BDINTERP, achieves $(1+\epsilon)$-consistency and $\mathcal{O}(\frac{CD}{\epsilon})$-robustness when the problem has bounded diameter $D$. Further, we show that BDINTERP achieves near-optimal consistency-robustness trade-off for the special case where cost functions are $\alpha$-polyhedral.

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