Optimal Sequential Maximization: One Interview is Enough!

Jul 12, 2020



Maximum selection under probabilistic queries (probabilistic maximization) is a fundamental algorithmic problem arising in numerous theoretical and practical contexts. We derive the first query-optimal sequential algorithm for probabilistic-maximization. Departing from previous assumptions, the algorithm and performance guarantees apply even for infinitely many items, hence in particular do not require a-priori knowledge of the number of items. The algorithm has linear query complexity, and is optimal also in the streaming setting. To derive these results we consider a probabilistic setting where several candidates for a position are asked multiple questions with the goal of finding who has the highest probability of answering interview questions correctly. Previous work minimized the total number of questions asked by alternating back and forth between the best performing candidates, in a sense, inviting them to multiple interviews. We show that the same order-wise selection accuracy can be achieved by querying the candidates sequentially, never returning to a previously queried candidate. Hence one interview is enough!



About ICML 2020

The International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML) is the premier gathering of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the branch of artificial intelligence known as machine learning. ICML is globally renowned for presenting and publishing cutting-edge research on all aspects of machine learning used in closely related areas like artificial intelligence, statistics and data science, as well as important application areas such as machine vision, computational biology, speech recognition, and robotics. ICML is one of the fastest growing artificial intelligence conferences in the world. Participants at ICML span a wide range of backgrounds, from academic and industrial researchers, to entrepreneurs and engineers, to graduate students and postdocs.

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