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First Passage Percolation with Queried Hints

Kritkorn Karntikoon · Yiheng Shen · Sreenivas Gollapudi · Kostas Kollias · Aaron Schild · Ali Sinop

MR1 & MR2 - Number 137
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Sat 4 May 6 a.m. PDT — 8:30 a.m. PDT

Abstract: Solving optimization problems leads to elegant and practical solutions in a wide variety of real-world applications. In many of those real-world applications, some of the information required to specify the relevant optimization problem is noisy, uncertain, and expensive to obtain. In this work, we study how much of that information needs to be queried in order to obtain an approximately optimal solution to the relevant problem. In particular, we focus on the shortest path problem in graphs with dynamic edge costs. We adopt the {\em first passage percolation} model from probability theory wherein a graph $G'$ is derived from a weighted base graph $G$ by multiplying each edge weight by an independently chosen, random number in $[1, \rho]$. Mathematicians have studied this model extensively when $G$ is a $d$-dimensional grid graph, but the behavior of shortest paths in this model is still poorly understood in general graphs. We make progress in this direction for a class of graphs that resemble real-world road networks. Specifically, we prove that if $G$ has a constant continuous doubling dimension, then for a given $s-t$ pair, we only need to probe the weights on $((\rho \log n )/ \epsilon)^{O(1)}$ edges in $G'$ in order to obtain a $(1 + \epsilon)$-approximation to the $s-t$ distance in $G'$. We also generalize the result to a correlated setting and demonstrate experimentally that probing improves accuracy in estimating $s-t$ distances.

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