Proceedings Abstracts of the Twenty-Fourth International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Information Gathering in Networks via Active Exploration / 891
Adish Singla, Eric Horvitz, Pushmeet Kohli, Ryen White, Andreas Krause

How should we gather information in a network, where each node's visibility is limited to its local neighborhood? This problem arises in numerous real-world applications, such as surveying and task routing in social networks, team formation in collaborative networks and experimental design with dependency constraints. Often the informativeness of a set of nodes can be quantified via a submodular utility function. Existing approaches for submodular optimization, however, require that the set of all nodes that can be selected is known ahead of time, which is often unrealistic. In contrast, we propose a novel model where we start our exploration from an initial node, and new nodes become visible and available for selection only once one of their neighbors has been chosen. We then present a general algorithm elgreedy for this problem, and provide theoretical bounds on its performance dependent on structural properties of the underlying network. We evaluate our methodology on various simulated problem instances as well as on data collected from social question answering system deployed within a large enterprise.