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  1. Healthcare acquired infections (HAIs) (e.g., Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection) have complex transmission pathways, spreading not just via direct person-to-person contacts, but also via contaminated surfaces. Prior work in mathematical epidemiology has led to a class of models – which we call load sharing models – that provide a discrete-time, stochastic formalization of HAI-spread on temporal contact networks. The focus of this paper is the source detection problem for the load sharing model. The source detection problem has been studied extensively in SEIR type models, but this prior work does not apply to load sharing models.We show that a natural formulation of the source detection problem for the load sharing model is computationally hard, even to approximate. We then present two alternate formulations that are much more tractable. The tractability of our problems depends crucially on the submodularity of the expected number of infections as a function of the source set. Prior techniques for showing submodularity, such as the "live graph" technique are not applicable for the load sharing model and our key technical contribution is to use a more sophisticated "coupling" technique to show the submodularity result. We propose algorithms for our two problem formulations by extending existing algorithmic results from submodular optimization and combining these with an expectation propagation heuristic for the load sharing model that leads to orders-of-magnitude speedup. We present experimental results on temporal contact networks based on fine-grained EMR data from three different hospitals. Our results on synthetic outbreaks on these networks show that our algorithms outperform baselines by up to 5.97 times. Furthermore, case studies based on hospital outbreaks of Clostridioides difficile infection show that our algorithms identify clinically meaningful sources. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 27, 2024
  2. We study local symmetry breaking problems in the Congest model, focusing on ruling set problems, which generalize the fundamental Maximal Independent Set (MIS) problem. The time (round) complexity of MIS (and ruling sets) have attracted much attention in the Local model. Indeed, recent results (Barenboim et al., FOCS 2012, Ghaffari SODA 2016) for the MIS problem have tried to break the long-standing O(log n)-round "barrier" achieved by Luby's algorithm, but these yield o(log n)-round complexity only when the maximum degree Delta is somewhat small relative to n. More importantly, these results apply only in the Local model. In fact, the best known time bound in the Congest model is still O(log n) (via Luby's algorithm) even for moderately small Delta (i.e., for Delta = Omega(log n) and Delta = o(n)). Furthermore, message complexity has been largely ignored in the context of local symmetry breaking. Luby's algorithm takes O(m) messages on m-edge graphs and this is the best known bound with respect to messages. Our work is motivated by the following central question: can we break the Theta(log n) time complexity barrier and the Theta(m) message complexity barrier in the Congest model for MIS or closely-related symmetry breaking problems? This paper presents progress towards this question for the distributed ruling set problem in the Congest model. A beta-ruling set is an independent set such that every node in the graph is at most beta hops from a node in the independent set. We present the following results: - Time Complexity: We show that we can break the O(log n) "barrier" for 2- and 3-ruling sets. We compute 3-ruling sets in O(log n/log log n) rounds with high probability (whp). More generally we show that 2-ruling sets can be computed in O(log Delta (log n)^(1/2 + epsilon) + log n/log log n) rounds for any epsilon > 0, which is o(log n) for a wide range of Delta values (e.g., Delta = 2^(log n)^(1/2-epsilon)). These are the first 2- and 3-ruling set algorithms to improve over the O(log n)-round complexity of Luby's algorithm in the Congest model. - Message Complexity: We show an Omega(n^2) lower bound on the message complexity of computing an MIS (i.e., 1-ruling set) which holds also for randomized algorithms and present a contrast to this by showing a randomized algorithm for 2-ruling sets that, whp, uses only O(n log^2 n) messages and runs in O(Delta log n) rounds. This is the first message-efficient algorithm known for ruling sets, which has message complexity nearly linear in n (which is optimal up to a polylogarithmic factor). 
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