skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Scalable and Memory-Efficient Algorithms for Controlling Networked Epidemic Processes Using Multiplicative Weights Update Method

We study the problem of designing scalable algorithms to find effective intervention strategies for controlling stochastic epidemic processes on networks. This is a common problem arising in agent based models for epidemic spread.Previous approaches to this problem focus on either heuristics with no guarantees or approximation algorithms that scale only to networks corresponding to county-sized populations, typically, with less than a million nodes. In particular, the mathematical-programming based approaches need to solve the Linear Program (LP) relaxation of the problem using an LP solver, which restricts the scalability of this approach. In this work, we overcome this restriction by designing an algorithm that adapts the multiplicative weights update (MWU) framework, along with the sample average approximation (SAA) technique, to approximately solve the linear program (LP) relaxation for the problem. To scale this approach further, we provide a memory-efficient algorithm that enables scaling to large networks, corresponding to country-size populations, with over 300 million nodes and 30 billion edges. Furthermore, we show that this approach provides near-optimal solutions to the LP in practice.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1633028 1918656 1955797
NSF-PAR ID:
10386720
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of the Thirty-First International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence
Page Range / eLocation ID:
5164 to 5170
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Content spread inequity is a potential unfairness issue in online social networks, disparately impacting minority groups. In this paper, we view friendship suggestion, a common feature in social network platforms, as an opportunity to achieve an equitable spread of content. In particular, we propose to suggest a subset of potential edges (currently not existing in the network but likely to be accepted) that maximizes content spread while achieving fairness. Instead of re-engineering the existing systems, our proposal builds a fairness wrapper on top of the existing friendship suggestion components. We prove the problem is NP-hard and inapproximable in polynomial time unless P=NP. Therefore, allowing relaxation of the fairness constraint, we propose an algorithm based on LP-relaxation and randomized rounding with fixed approximation ratios on fairness and content spread. We provide multiple optimizations, further improving the performance of our algorithm in practice. Besides, we propose a scalable algorithm that dynamically adds subsets of nodes, chosen via iterative sampling, and solves smaller problems corresponding to these nodes. Besides theoretical analysis, we conduct comprehensive experiments on real and synthetic data sets. Across different settings, our algorithms found solutions with near-zero unfairness while significantly increasing the content spread. Our scalable algorithm could process a graph with half a million nodes on a single machine, reducing the unfairness to around 0.0004 while lifting content spread by 43%. 
    more » « less
  2. ABSTRACT Efficient contact tracing and isolation is an effective strategy to control epidemics, as seen in the Ebola epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. An important consideration in contact tracing is the budget on the number of individuals asked to quarantine—the budget is limited for socioeconomic reasons (e.g., having a limited number of contact tracers). Here, we present a Markov Decision Process (MDP) framework to formulate the problem of using contact tracing to reduce the size of an outbreak while limiting the number of people quarantined. We formulate each step of the MDP as a combinatorial problem, MinExposed, which we demonstrate is NP-Hard. Next, we develop two approximation algorithms, one based on rounding the solutions of a linear program and another (greedy algorithm) based on choosing nodes with a high (weighted) degree. A key feature of the greedy algorithm is that it does not need complete information of the underlying social contact network, making it implementable in practice. Using simulations over realistic networks, we show how the algorithms can help in bending the epidemic curve with a limited number of isolated individuals. 
    more » « less
  3. Efficient contact tracing and isolation is an effective strategy to control epidemics, as seen in the Ebola epidemic and COVID-19 pandemic. An important consideration in contact tracing is the budget on the number of individuals asked to quarantine—the budget is limited for socioeconomic reasons (e.g., having a limited number of contact tracers). Here, we present a Markov Decision Process (MDP) framework to formulate the problem of using contact tracing to reduce the size of an outbreak while limiting the number of people quarantined. We formulate each step of the MDP as a combinatorial problem, MinExposed, which we demonstrate is NP-Hard. Next, we develop two approximation algorithms, one based on rounding the solutions of a linear program and another (greedy algorithm) based on choosing nodes with a high (weighted) degree. A key feature of the greedy algorithm is that it does not need complete information of the underlying social contact network, making it implementable in practice. Using simulations over realistic networks, we show how the algorithms can help in bending the epidemic curve with a limited number of isolated individuals. 
    more » « less
  4. We consider a variant of the vehicle routing problem (VRP) where each customer has a unit demand and the goal is to minimize the total cost of routing a fleet of capacitated vehicles from one or multiple depots to visit all customers. We propose two parallel algorithms to efficiently solve the column-generation-based linear-programming relaxation for this VRP. Specifically, we focus on algorithms for the “pricing problem,” which corresponds to the resource-constrained elementary shortest path problem. The first algorithm extends the pulse algorithm for which we derive a new bounding scheme on the maximum load of any route. The second algorithm is based on random coloring from parameterized complexity which can be also combined with other techniques in the literature for improving VRPs, including cutting planes and column enumeration. We conduct numerical studies using VRP benchmarks (with 50–957 nodes) and instances of a medical home care delivery problem using census data in Wayne County, Michigan. Using parallel computing, both pulse and random coloring can significantly improve column generation for solving the linear programming relaxations and we can obtain heuristic integer solutions with small optimality gaps. Combining random coloring with column enumeration, we can obtain improved integer solutions having less than 2% optimality gaps for most VRP benchmark instances and less than 1% optimality gaps for the medical home care delivery instances, both under a 30-minute computational time limit. The use of cutting planes (e.g., robust cuts) can further reduce optimality gaps on some hard instances, without much increase in the run time. Summary of Contribution: The vehicle routing problem (VRP) is a fundamental combinatorial problem, and its variants have been studied extensively in the literature of operations research and computer science. In this paper, we consider general-purpose algorithms for solving VRPs, including the column-generation approach for the linear programming relaxations of the integer programs of VRPs and the column-enumeration approach for seeking improved integer solutions. We revise the pulse algorithm and also propose a random-coloring algorithm that can be used for solving the elementary shortest path problem that formulates the pricing problem in the column-generation approach. We show that the parallel implementation of both algorithms can significantly improve the performance of column generation and the random coloring algorithm can improve the solution time and quality of the VRP integer solutions produced by the column-enumeration approach. We focus on algorithmic design for VRPs and conduct extensive computational tests to demonstrate the performance of various approaches. 
    more » « less
  5. Efficient contact tracing and isolation is an effective strategy to control epidemics. It was used effectively during the Ebola epidemic and successfully implemented in several parts of the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An important consideration in contact tracing is the budget on the number of individuals asked to quarantine -- the budget is limited for socioeconomic reasons. In this paper, we present a Markov Decision Process (MDP) framework to formulate the problem of using contact tracing to reduce the size of an outbreak while asking a limited number of people to quarantine. We formulate each step of the MDP as a combinatorial problem, MinExposed, which we demonstrate is NP-Hard; as a result, we develop an LP-based approximation algorithm. Though this algorithm directly solves MinExposed, it is often impractical in the real world due to information constraints. To this end, we develop a greedy approach based on insights from the analysis of the previous algorithm, which we show is more interpretable. A key feature of the greedy algorithm is that it does not need complete information of the underlying social contact network. This makes the heuristic implementable in practice and is an important consideration. Finally, we carry out experiments on simulations of the MDP run on real-world networks, and show how the algorithms can help in bending the epidemic curve while limiting the number of isolated individuals. Our experimental results demonstrate that the greedy algorithm and its variants are especially effective, robust, and practical in a variety of realistic scenarios, such as when the contact graph and specific transmission probabilities are not known. All code can be found in our GitHub repository: this https URL. 
    more » « less