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Research Spending & Results

Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:University of Pennsylvania
  • Hamed Hassani
  • (215) 898-9241
Award Date:01/16/2020
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 400,000
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 82,726
  • FY 2020=$82,726
Start Date:06/01/2020
End Date:05/31/2025
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.070
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:CAREER: Submodular Optimization in Complex Environments: Theory, Algorithms, and Applications
Federal Award ID Number:1943064
DUNS ID:042250712
Parent DUNS ID:042250712
Program:Comm & Information Foundations
Program Officer:
  • Phillip Regalia
  • (703) 292-2981

Awardee Location

Street:Research Services
Awardee Cong. District:03

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:University of Pennsylvania
Street:200 S. 33rd Street
Cong. District:03

Abstract at Time of Award

Discrete optimization is an inherent challenge in algorithm design arising in various domains such as artificial intelligence, robotics, and smart cities. Even though discrete optimization problems are hard in general, prior work has shown that many real-world instances satisfy a natural diminishing property called submodularity. Playing an analogous role as convexity does for continuous optimization, submodularity has been transformational for algorithm design, leading to efficient optimization methods with strong theoretical guarantees. Despite this progress, the existing methodologies suffer known limitations and can benefit from a reexamination inspired by the challenges set forth by today's technological advances. This project aims to develop a research plan that builds the foundations of discrete and submodular optimization in complex, dynamic environments, addressing the challenges of scalability and uncertainty, and facilitating distributed and sequential learning in much broader settings. This project is interdisciplinary, featuring a synergistic education plan that incorporates development of both graduate and undergraduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania with the specific goal of identifying gaps in educational training and enriching the curriculum for teaching data science to engineers. It also aims to use available public education platforms to build a pipeline for STEM majors entering college, advance public communication around data science, and disseminate research results. The overarching goal of the proposed research program is to develop novel and foundational frameworks for submodular optimization in (i) stochastic, uncertain, dynamically evolving, and adversarially changing environments; (ii) distributed and multi-agent systems; and (iii) adaptive scenarios enabling sequential selection of data and observations. The project seeks to establish fundamental trade-offs between the best attainable solution quality and various types of complexities (specifically, computation, communication, and sample complexities), and devise algorithmic frameworks that meet such trade-offs. The resultant theory and algorithms will be applied to real-world scenarios. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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