Adaptive Greedy versus Non-adaptive Greedy for Influence Maximization

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Wei Chen
Binghui Peng
Grant Schoenebeck
Biaoshuai Tao


We consider the adaptive influence maximization problem: given a network and a budget k, iteratively select k seeds in the network to maximize the expected number of adopters. In the full-adoption feedback model, after selecting each seed, the seed-picker observes all the resulting adoptions. In the myopic feedback model, the seed-picker only observes whether each neighbor of the chosen seed adopts. Motivated by the extreme success of greedy-based algorithms/heuristics for influence maximization, we propose the concept of greedy adaptivity gap, which compares the performance of the adaptive greedy algorithm to its non-adaptive counterpart. Our first result shows that, for submodular influence maximization, the adaptive greedy algorithm can perform up to a (1 − 1/e)-fraction worse than the non-adaptive greedy algorithm, and that this ratio is tight. More specifically, on one side we provide examples where the performance of the adaptive greedy algorithm is only a (1−1/e) fraction of the performance of the non-adaptive greedy algorithm in four settings: for both feedback models and both the independent cascade model and the linear threshold model. On the other side, we prove that in any submodular cascade, the adaptive greedy algorithm always outputs a (1 − 1/e)-approximation to the expected number of adoptions in the optimal non-adaptive seed choice. Our second result shows that, for the general submodular diffusion model with full-adoption feedback, the adaptive greedy algorithm can outperform the non-adaptive greedy algorithm by an unbounded factor. Finally, we propose a risk-free variant of the adaptive greedy algorithm that always performs no worse than the non-adaptive greedy algorithm.

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