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New Query Lower Bounds for Submodular Function MInimization

by   Andrei Graur, et al.

We consider submodular function minimization in the oracle model: given black-box access to a submodular set function f:2^[n]→R, find an element of min_S {f(S)} using as few queries to f(·) as possible. State-of-the-art algorithms succeed with Õ(n^2) queries [LeeSW15], yet the best-known lower bound has never been improved beyond n [Harvey08]. We provide a query lower bound of 2n for submodular function minimization, a 3n/2-2 query lower bound for the non-trivial minimizer of a symmetric submodular function, and a n2 query lower bound for the non-trivial minimizer of an asymmetric submodular function. Our 3n/2-2 lower bound results from a connection between SFM lower bounds and a novel concept we term the cut dimension of a graph. Interestingly, this yields a 3n/2-2 cut-query lower bound for finding the global mincut in an undirected, weighted graph, but we also prove it cannot yield a lower bound better than n+1 for s-t mincut, even in a directed, weighted graph.


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