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  1. A graph profile records all possible densities of a fixed finite set of graphs. Profiles can be extremely complicated; for instance the full profile of any triple of connected graphs is not known, and little is known about hypergraph profiles. We introduce the tropicalization of graph and hypergraph profiles. Tropicalization is a well-studied operation in algebraic geometry, which replaces a variety (the set of real or complex solutions to a finite set of algebraic equations) with its “combinatorial shadow”. We prove that the tropicalization of a graph profile is a closed convex cone, which still captures interesting combinatorial information. Wemore »explicitly compute these tropicalizations for arbitrary sets of complete and star hypergraphs. We show they are rational polyhedral cones even though the corresponding profiles are not even known to be semialgebraic in some of these cases. We then use tropicalization to prove strong restrictions on the power of the sums of squares method, equivalently Cauchy-Schwarz calculus, to test (which is weaker than certification) the validity of graph density inequalities. In particular, we show that sums of squares cannot test simple binomial graph density inequalities, or even their approximations. Small concrete examples of such inequalities are presented, and include the famous Blakley-Roy inequalities for paths of odd length. As a consequence, these simple inequalities cannot be written as a rational sum of squares of graph densities.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2023
  2. Scrubbing sensitive data before releasing memory is a widely accepted but often ignored programming practice for developing secure software. Consequently, confidential data such as cryptographic keys, passwords, and personal data, can remain in memory indefinitely, thereby increasing the risk of exposure to hackers who can retrieve the data using memory dumps or exploit vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed and Etherleak. We propose an approach for detecting a specific memory safety bug called Improper Clearing of Heap Memory Before Release, also known as Common Weakness Enumeration 244, in C programs. The CWE-244 bug in a program allows the leakage of confidential informationmore »when a variable is not wiped before heap memory is freed. Our approach combines taint analysis and model checking to detect this weakness. We have three main phases: (1) perform a coarse flow-insensitive inter-procedural static analysis on the program to construct a set of pointer variables that could point to sensitive data; (2) instrument the program with required dynamic variable tracking, and assertion logic for memory wiping before deallocation; and (3) invoke a model checker, the C-Bounded Model Checker (CBMC) in our case, to detect assertion violation in the instrumented program. We develop a tool, \toolname, implementing our instrumentation based algorithm, and we provide experimental validation on the Juliet Test Suite --- the tool is able to detect all the CWE-244 instances present in the test suite. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first work which presents a solution to the problem of detecting unscrubbed secure memory deallocation violations in programs.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 30, 2023
  3. Constrained submodular function maximization has been used in subset selection problems such as selection of most informative sensor locations. Although these models have been quite popular, the solutions obtained via this approach are unstable to perturbations in data defining the submodular functions. Robust submodular maximization has been proposed as a richer model that aims to overcome this discrepancy as well as increase the modeling scope of submodular optimization. In this work, we consider robust submodular maximization with structured combinatorial constraints and give efficient algorithms with provable guarantees. Our approach is applicable to constraints defined by single or multiple matroids andmore »knapsack as well as distributionally robust criteria. We consider both the offline setting where the data defining the problem are known in advance and the online setting where the input data are revealed over time. For the offline setting, we give a general (nearly) optimal bicriteria approximation algorithm that relies on new extensions of classical algorithms for submodular maximization. For the online version of the problem, we give an algorithm that returns a bicriteria solution with sublinear regret. Summary of Contribution: Constrained submodular maximization is one of the core areas in combinatorial optimization with a wide variety of applications in operations research and computer science. Over the last decades, both communities have been interested on the design and analysis of new algorithms with provable guarantees. Sensor location, influence maximization and data summarization are some of the applications of submodular optimization that lie at the intersection of the aforementioned communities. Particularly, our work focuses on optimizing several submodular functions simultaneously. We provide new insights and algorithms to the offline and online variants of the problem which significantly expand the related literature. At the same time, we provide a computational study that supports our theoretical results.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  4. Experimental design is a classical statistics problem, and its aim is to estimate an unknown vector from linear measurements where a Gaussian noise is introduced in each measurement. For the combinatorial experimental design problem, the goal is to pick a subset of experiments so as to make the most accurate estimate of the unknown parameters. In this paper, we will study one of the most robust measures of error estimation—the D-optimality criterion, which corresponds to minimizing the volume of the confidence ellipsoid for the estimation error. The problem gives rise to two natural variants depending on whether repetitions of experimentsmore »are allowed or not. We first propose an approximation algorithm with a 1/e-approximation for the D-optimal design problem with and without repetitions, giving the first constant-factor approximation for the problem. We then analyze another sampling approximation algorithm and prove that it is asymptotically optimal. Finally, for D-optimal design with repetitions, we study a different algorithm proposed by the literature and show that it can improve this asymptotic approximation ratio. All the sampling algorithms studied in this paper are shown to admit polynomial-time deterministic implementations.« less
  5. Cloud computing has motivated renewed interest in resource allocation problems with new consumption models. A common goal is to share a resource, such as CPU or I/O bandwidth, among distinct users with different demand patterns as well as different quality of service requirements. To ensure these service requirements, cloud offerings often come with a service level agreement (SLA) between the provider and the users. A SLA specifies the amount of a resource a user is entitled to utilize. In many cloud settings, providers would like to operate resources at high utilization while simultaneously respecting individual SLAs. There is typically amore »trade-off between these two objectives; for example, utilization can be increased by shifting away resources from idle users to “scavenger” workload, but with the risk of the former then becoming active again. We study this fundamental tradeoff by formulating a resource allocation model that captures basic properties of cloud computing systems, including SLAs, highly limited feedback about the state of the system, and variable and unpredictable input sequences. Our main result is a simple and practical algorithm that achieves near-optimal performance on the above two objectives. First, we guarantee nearly optimal utilization of the resource even if compared with the omniscient offline dynamic optimum. Second, we simultaneously satisfy all individual SLAs up to a small error. The main algorithmic tool is a multiplicative weight update algorithm and a primal-dual argument to obtain its guarantees. We also provide numerical validation on real data to demonstrate the performance of our algorithm in practical applications.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022
  6. The research problem of how to use a high-speed circuit switch, typically an optical switch, to most effectively boost the switching capacity of a datacenter network, has been extensively studied. In this work, we focus on a different but related research problem that arises when multiple (say $s$) parallel circuit switches are used: How to best split a switching workload $D$ into sub-workloads $D_1, D_2, ..., D_s$, and give them to the $s$ switches as their respective workloads, so that the overall makespan of the parallel switching system is minimized? Computing such an optimal split is unfortunately NP-hard, since themore »circuit/optical switch incurs a nontrivial reconfiguration delay when the switch configuration has to change. In this work, we formulate a weaker form of this problem: How to minimize the total number of nonzero entries in $D_1, D_2, ..., D_s$ (so that the overall reconfiguration cost can be kept low), under the constraint that every row or column sum of $D$ (which corresponds to the workload imposed on a sending or receiving rack respectively) is evenly split? Although this weaker problem is still NP-hard, we are able to design LESS, an approximation algorithm that has a low approximation ratio of only $1+\epsilon$ in practice and a low computational complexity of only $O(m^2)$, where $m = \|D\|_0$ is the number of nonzero entries in $D$. Our simulation studies show that LESS results in excellent overall makespan performances under realistic datacenter traffic workloads and parameter settings.« less
  7. Experimental design is a classical area in statistics and has also found new applications in machine learning. In the combinatorial experimental design problem, the aim is to estimate an unknown m-dimensional vector x from linear measurements where a Gaussian noise is introduced in each measurement. The goal is to pick k out of the given n experiments so as to make the most accurate estimate of the unknown parameter x. Given a set S of chosen experiments, the most likelihood estimate x0 can be obtained by a least squares computation. One of the robust measures of error estimation is themore »D-optimality criterion which aims to minimize the generalized variance of the estimator. This corresponds to minimizing the volume of the standard confidence ellipsoid for the estimation error x − x0. The problem gives rise to two natural variants depending on whether repetitions of experiments is allowed or not. The latter variant, while being more general, has also found applications in geographical location of sensors. We show a close connection between approximation algorithms for the D-optimal design problem and constructions of approximately m-wise positively correlated distributions. This connection allows us to obtain first approximation algorithms for the D-optimal design problem with and without repetitions. We then consider the case when the number of experiments chosen is much larger than the dimension m and show one can obtain asymptotically optimal algorithms in this case.« less