Quantum and Classical Algorithms for Approximate Submodular Function Minimization

07/11/2019 ∙ by Yassine Hamoudi, et al. ∙ 0

Submodular functions are set functions mapping every subset of some ground set of size n into the real numbers and satisfying the diminishing returns property. Submodular minimization is an important field in discrete optimization theory due to its relevance for various branches of mathematics, computer science and economics. The currently fastest strongly polynomial algorithm for exact minimization [LSW15] runs in time O(n^3 ·EO + n^4) where EO denotes the cost to evaluate the function on any set. For functions with range [-1,1], the best ϵ-additive approximation algorithm [CLSW17] runs in time O(n^5/3/ϵ^2·EO). In this paper we present a classical and a quantum algorithm for approximate submodular minimization. Our classical result improves on the algorithm of [CLSW17] and runs in time O(n^3/2/ϵ^2 ·EO). Our quantum algorithm is, up to our knowledge, the first attempt to use quantum computing for submodular optimization. The algorithm runs in time O(n^5/4/ϵ^5/2·(1/ϵ) ·EO). The main ingredient of the quantum result is a new method for sampling with high probability T independent elements from any discrete probability distribution of support size n in time O(√(Tn)). Previous quantum algorithms for this problem were of complexity O(T√(n)).

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