Secretary and Online Matching Problems with Machine Learned Advice

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 33 (NeurIPS 2020)

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Antonios Antoniadis, Themis Gouleakis, Pieter Kleer, Pavel Kolev


The classical analysis of online algorithms, due to its worst-case nature, can be quite pessimistic when the input instance at hand is far from worst-case. Often this is not an issue with machine learning approaches, which shine in exploiting patterns in past inputs in order to predict the future. However, such predictions, although usually accurate, can be arbitrarily poor. Inspired by a recent line of work, we augment three well-known online settings with machine learned predictions about the future, and develop algorithms that take them into account. In particular, we study the following online selection problems: (i) the classical secretary problem, (ii) online bipartite matching and (iii) the graphic matroid secretary problem. Our algorithms still come with a worst-case performance guarantee in the case that predictions are subpar while obtaining an improved competitive ratio (over the best-known classical online algorithm for each problem) when the predictions are sufficiently accurate. For each algorithm, we establish a trade-off between the competitive ratios obtained in the two respective cases.