Online auction is an essence of many modern markets, particularly networked markets, in which information about goods, agents, and outcomes is revealed over a period of time, and the agents must make irrevocable decisions without knowing future information. Optimal stopping theory, especially the classic secretary problem, is a powerful tool for analyzing such online scenarios which generally require optimizing an objective function over the input. The secretary problem and its generalization the multiple-choice secretary problem were under a thorough study in the literature. In this paper, we consider a very general setting of the latter problem called the submodular secretary problem, in which the goal is to select k secretaries so as to maximize the expectation of a submodular function which defines efficiency of the selected secretarial group based on their overlapping skills. We present the first constant-competitive algorithm for this case. We consider some special cases of our general setting as well.
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