Influence Maximization with Bandits

27 Feb 2015  ·  Sharan Vaswani, Laks. V. S. Lakshmanan, Mark Schmidt ·

We consider the problem of \emph{influence maximization}, the problem of maximizing the number of people that become aware of a product by finding the `best' set of `seed' users to expose the product to. Most prior work on this topic assumes that we know the probability of each user influencing each other user, or we have data that lets us estimate these influences... However, this information is typically not initially available or is difficult to obtain. To avoid this assumption, we adopt a combinatorial multi-armed bandit paradigm that estimates the influence probabilities as we sequentially try different seed sets. We establish bounds on the performance of this procedure under the existing edge-level feedback as well as a novel and more realistic node-level feedback. Beyond our theoretical results, we describe a practical implementation and experimentally demonstrate its efficiency and effectiveness on four real datasets. read more

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