22 research outputs found

### Parameterized Complexity of Problems in Coalitional Resource Games

Coalition formation is a key topic in multi-agent systems. Coalitions enable
agents to achieve goals that they may not have been able to achieve on their
own. Previous work has shown problems in coalitional games to be
computationally hard. Wooldridge and Dunne (Artificial Intelligence 2006)
studied the classical computational complexity of several natural decision
problems in Coalitional Resource Games (CRG) - games in which each agent is
endowed with a set of resources and coalitions can bring about a set of goals
if they are collectively endowed with the necessary amount of resources. The
input of coalitional resource games bundles together several elements, e.g.,
the agent set Ag, the goal set G, the resource set R, etc. Shrot, Aumann and
Kraus (AAMAS 2009) examine coalition formation problems in the CRG model using
the theory of Parameterized Complexity. Their refined analysis shows that not
all parts of input act equal - some instances of the problem are indeed
tractable while others still remain intractable.
We answer an important question left open by Shrot, Aumann and Kraus by
showing that the SC Problem (checking whether a Coalition is Successful) is
W[1]-hard when parameterized by the size of the coalition. Then via a single
theme of reduction from SC, we are able to show that various problems related
to resources, resource bounds and resource conflicts introduced by Wooldridge
et al are 1. W[1]-hard or co-W[1]-hard when parameterized by the size of the
coalition. 2. para-NP-hard or co-para-NP-hard when parameterized by |R|. 3. FPT
when parameterized by either |G| or |Ag|+|R|.Comment: This is the full version of a paper that will appear in the
proceedings of AAAI 201

### Primal-Dual Techniques for Online Algorithms and Mechanisms

An offline algorithm is one that knows the entire input in advance. An online algorithm, however, processes its input in a serial fashion. In contrast to offline algorithms, an online algorithm works in a local fashion and has to make irrevocable decisions without having the entire input. Online algorithms are often not optimal since their irrevocable decisions may turn out to be inefficient after receiving the rest of the input. For a given online problem, the goal is to design algorithms which are competitive against the offline optimal solutions.
In a classical offline scenario, it is often common to see a dual analysis of problems that can be formulated as a linear or convex program. Primal-dual and dual-fitting techniques have been successfully applied to many such problems. Unfortunately, the usual tricks come short in an online setting since an online algorithm should make decisions without knowing even the whole program.
In this thesis, we study the competitive analysis of fundamental problems in the literature such as different variants of online matching and online Steiner connectivity, via online dual techniques.
Although there are many generic tools for solving an optimization problem in the offline paradigm, in comparison, much less is known for tackling online problems.
The main focus of this work is to design generic techniques for solving integral linear optimization problems where the solution space is restricted via a set of linear constraints. A general family of these problems are online packing/covering problems. Our work shows that for several seemingly unrelated problems, primal-dual techniques can be successfully applied as a unifying approach for analyzing these problems. We believe this leads to generic algorithmic frameworks for solving online problems.
In the first part of the thesis, we show the effectiveness of our techniques in the stochastic settings and their applications in Bayesian mechanism design. In particular, we introduce new techniques for solving a fundamental linear optimization problem, namely, the stochastic generalized assignment problem (GAP). This packing problem generalizes various problems such as online matching, ad allocation, bin packing, etc. We furthermore show applications of such results in the mechanism design by introducing Prophet Secretary, a novel Bayesian model for online auctions.
In the second part of the thesis, we focus on the covering problems. We develop the framework of "Disk Painting" for a general class of network design problems that can be characterized by proper functions. This class generalizes the node-weighted and edge-weighted variants of several well-known Steiner connectivity problems. We furthermore design a generic technique for solving the prize-collecting variants of these problems when there exists a dual analysis for the non-prize-collecting counterparts. Hence, we solve the online prize-collecting variants of several network design problems for the first time.
Finally we focus on designing techniques for online problems with mixed packing/covering constraints. We initiate the study of degree-bounded graph optimization problems in the online setting by designing an online algorithm with a tight competitive ratio for the degree-bounded Steiner forest problem. We hope these techniques establishes a starting point for the analysis of the important class of online degree-bounded optimization on graphs

### Online Energy Storage Management: an Algorithmic Approach

Motivated by the importance of energy storage networks in smart grids, we provide an algorithmic study of the online energy storage management problem in a network setting, the first to the best of our knowledge. Given online power supplies, either entirely renewable supplies or those in combination with traditional supplies, we want to route power from the supplies to demands using storage units subject to a decay factor. Our goal is to maximize the total utility of satisfied demands less the total production cost of routed power. We model renewable supplies with the zero production cost function and traditional supplies with convex production cost functions. For two natural storage unit settings, private and public, we design poly-logarithmic competitive algorithms in the network flow model using the dual fitting and online primal dual methods for convex problems. Furthermore, we show strong hardness results for more general settings of the problem. Our techniques may be of independent interest in other routing and storage management problems

### Stochastic k-Server: How Should Uber Work?

In this paper we study a stochastic variant of the celebrated $k$-server problem. In the k-server problem, we are required to minimize the total movement of k servers that are serving an online sequence of $t$ requests in a metric. In the stochastic setting we are given t independent distributions in advance, and at every time step i a request is drawn from P_i.
Designing the optimal online algorithm in such setting is NP-hard, therefore the emphasis of our work is on designing an approximately optimal online algorithm. We first show a structural characterization for a certain class of non-adaptive online algorithms. We prove that in general metrics, the best of such algorithms has a cost of no worse than three times that of the optimal online algorithm. Next, we present an integer program that finds the optimal algorithm of this class for any arbitrary metric. Finally by rounding the solution of the linear relaxation of this program, we present an online algorithm for the stochastic k-server problem with an approximation factor of $3$ in the line and circle metrics and factor of O(log n) in general metrics. In this way, we achieve an approximation factor that is independent of k, the number of servers.
Moreover, we define the Uber problem, motivated by extraordinary growth of online network transportation services. In the Uber problem, each demand consists of two points -a source and a destination- in the metric. Serving a demand is to move a server to its source and then to its destination. The objective is again minimizing the total movement of the k given servers. It is not hard to show that given an alpha-approximation algorithm for the k-server problem, we can obtain a max{3,alpha}-approximation algorithm for the Uber problem. Motivated by the fact that demands are usually highly correlated with the time (e.g. what day of the week or what time of the day the demand is arrived), we study the stochastic Uber problem. Using our results for stochastic k-server we can obtain a 3-approximation algorithm for the stochastic Uber problem in line and circle metrics, and a O(log n)-approximation algorithm for a general metric of size n.
Furthermore, we extend our results to the correlated setting where the probability of a request arriving at a certain point depends not only on the time step but also on the previously arrived requests

### Online node-weighted steiner forest and extensions via disk paintings

We give the first polynomial-time online algorithm for the node-weighted Steiner forest problem with a poly-logarithmic competitive ratio. The competitive ratio of our algorithm is optimal up to a logarithmic factor. For the special case of graphs with an excluded fixed minor (e.g., planar graphs), we obtain a logarithmic competitive ratio, which is optimal up to a constant, using a different online algorithm. Both these results are obtained as special cases of generic results for a large class of problems that can be encoded as online {0, 1}-proper functions. Our results are obtained by using a new framework for online network design problems that we call disk paintings. The central idea in this technique is to amortize the cost of primal updates to a set of carefully selected mutually disjoint fixed-radius dual disks centered at a subset of terminals. We hope that this framework will be useful for other online network design problems