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The concept of a submodular function in discrete optimization appears to be in several respects analogous to that of a convex function in continuous optimization. In many combinatorial theorems and problems, submodularity is involved, in one form or another, and submodularity often plays an essential role in a proof or an algorithm. Moreover, analogous to the fast methods for convex function minimization, it turns out that submodular functions can also be minimized fast, viz. in polynomial time. However, the only method known for this is, as yet, the ellipsoid method.
KeywordsPolynomial Time Greedy Algorithm Rank Function Submodular Function Ellipsoid Method
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