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Abstract:Many problems in Machine Learning can be modeled as submodular optimization problems. Recent work has focused on stochastic or adaptive versions of these problems. We consider the Scenario Submodular Cover problem, which is a counterpart to the Stochastic Submodular Cover problem studied by Golovin and Krause. In Scenario Submodular Cover, the goal is to produce a cover with minimum expected cost, where the expectation is with respect to an empirical joint distribution, given as input by a weighted sample of realizations. In contrast, in Stochastic Submodular Cover, the variables of the input distribution are assumed to be independent, and the distribution of each variable is given as input. Building on algorithms developed by Cicalese et al. and Golovin and Krause for related problems, we give two approximation algorithms for Scenario Submodular Cover over discrete distributions. The first achieves an approximation factor of O(log Qm), where m is the size of the sample and Q is the goal utility. The second, simpler algorithm achieves an approximation bound of O(log QW), where Q is the goal utility and W is the sum of the integer weights. (Both bounds assume an integer-valued utility function.) Our results yield approximation bounds for other problems involving non-independent distributions that are explicitly specified by their support.

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