## Abstract

In the stochastic set cover problem (Grandoni et al., FOCS'08), we are given a collection S of m sets over a universe U of size N, and a distribution D over elements of U. The algorithm draws n elements one-by-one from D and must buy a set to cover each element on arrival; the goal is to minimize the total cost of sets bought during this process. A universal algorithm a priori maps each element u ∈ U to a set S(u) such that if U ⊆ U is formed by drawing n times from distribution D, then the algorithm commits to outputting S(U). Grandoni et al. gave an O(log mN)-competitive universal algorithm for this stochastic set cover problem. We improve unilaterally upon this result by giving a simple, polynomial time O(log mn)-competitive universal algorithm for the more general prophet version, in which U is formed by drawing from n different distributions D1, ..., Dn. Furthermore, we show that we do not need full foreknowledge of the distributions: in fact, a single sample from each distribution suffices. We show similar results for the 2-stage prophet setting and for the online-with-a-sample setting. We obtain our results via a generic reduction from the single-sample prophet setting to the random-order setting (for which Gupta et al., FOCS 2021 provides an algorithm); this reduction holds for a broad class of minimization problems that includes all covering problems. We take advantage of this framework by giving random-order algorithms for non-metric facility location and set multicover; using our framework, these automatically translate to universal prophet algorithms.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages | 4530-4553 |

Number of pages | 24 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - 2024 |

Event | 35th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2024 - Alexandria, United States Duration: Jan 7 2024 → Jan 10 2024 |

### Conference

Conference | 35th Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, SODA 2024 |
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Country/Territory | United States |

City | Alexandria |

Period | 1/7/24 → 1/10/24 |

## ASJC Scopus subject areas

- Software
- General Mathematics