Interior Point (IP)
Interior point methods (also referred to as barrier methods) are a certain class of algorithms to solve linear and nonlinear convex optimization problems. Example solution John von Neumann suggested an interior point method of linear programming which was neither a polynomial time method nor an efficient method in practice. In fact, it turned out to be slower in practice compared to simplex method which is not a polynomial time method. In 1984, Narendra Karmarkar developed a method for linear programming called Karmarkar’s algorithm which runs in provably polynomial time and is also very efficient in practice. It enabled solutions of linear programming problems which were beyond the capabilities of simplex method. Contrary to the simplex method, it reaches a best solution by traversing the interior of the feasible region. The method can be generalized to convex programming based on a self-concordant barrier function used to encode the convex set. Any convex optimization problem can be transformed into minimizing (or maximizing) a linear function over a convex set by converting to the epigraph form. The idea of encoding the feasible set using a barrier and designing barrier methods was studied by Anthony V. Fiacco, Garth P. McCormick, and others in the early 1960s. These ideas were mainly developed for general nonlinear programming, but they were later abandoned due to the presence of more competitive methods for this class of problems (e.g. sequential quadratic programming). Yurii Nesterov and Arkadi Nemirovski came up with a special class of such barriers that can be used to encode any convex set. They guarantee that the number of iterations of the algorithm is bounded by a polynomial in the dimension and accuracy of the solution. Karmarkar’s breakthrough revitalized the study of interior point methods and barrier problems, showing that it was possible to create an algorithm for linear programming characterized by polynomial complexity and, moreover, that was competitive with the simplex method. Already Khachiyan’s ellipsoid method was a polynomial time algorithm; however, it was too slow to be of practical interest. The class of primal-dual path-following interior point methods is considered the most successful. Mehrotra’s predictor-corrector algorithm provides the basis for most implementations of this class of methods. …

Service With Delay Problem
In this paper, we introduce the online service with delay problem. In this problem, there are \$n\$ points in a metric space that issue service requests over time, and a server that serves these requests. The goal is to minimize the sum of distance traveled by the server and the total delay in serving the requests. This problem models the fundamental tradeoff between batching requests to improve locality and reducing delay to improve response time, that has many applications in operations management, operating systems, logistics, supply chain management, and scheduling. Our main result is to show a poly-logarithmic competitive ratio for the online service with delay problem. This result is obtained by an algorithm that we call the preemptive service algorithm. The salient feature of this algorithm is a process called preemptive service, which uses a novel combination of (recursive) time forwarding and spatial exploration on a metric space. We hope this technique will be useful for related problems such as reordering buffer management, online TSP, vehicle routing, etc. We also generalize our results to \$k > 1\$ servers. …

Socratic Learning
Modern machine learning techniques, such as deep learning, often use discriminative models that require large amounts of labeled data. An alternative approach is to use a generative model, which leverages heuristics from domain experts to train on unlabeled data. Domain experts often prefer to use generative models because they ‘tell a story’ about their data. Unfortunately, generative models are typically less accurate than discriminative models. Several recent approaches combine both types of model to exploit their strengths. In this setting, a misspecified generative model can hurt the performance of subsequent discriminative training. To address this issue, we propose a framework called Socratic learning that automatically uses information from the discriminative model to correct generative model misspecification. Furthermore, this process provides users with interpretable feedback about how to improve their generative model. We evaluate Socratic learning on real-world relation extraction tasks and observe an immediate improvement in classification accuracy that could otherwise require several weeks of effort by domain experts. …