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A Polyhedral Approach to Some Max-min Problems

by   Lisa Hellerstein, et al.
NYU college
Rutgers University

We consider a max-min variation of the classical problem of maximizing a linear function over the base of a polymatroid. In our problem we assume that the vector of coefficients of the linear function is not a known parameter of the problem but is some vertex of a simplex, and we maximize the linear function in the worst case. Equivalently, we view the problem as a zero-sum game between a maximizing player whose mixed strategy set is the base of the polymatroid and a minimizing player whose mixed strategy set is a simplex. We show how to efficiently obtain optimal strategies for both players and an expression for the value of the game. Furthermore, we give a characterization of the set of optimal strategies for the minimizing player. We consider four versions of the game and discuss the implications of our results for problems in search, sequential testing and queueing.


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