Submodular meets Structured: Finding Diverse Subsets in Exponentially-Large Structured Item Sets

To cope with the high level of ambiguity faced in domains such as Computer Vision or Natural Language processing, robust prediction methods often search for a diverse set of high-quality candidate solutions or proposals. In structured prediction problems, this becomes a daunting task, as the solution space (image labelings, sentence parses, etc.) is exponentially large. We study greedy algo- rithms for finding a diverse subset of solutions in structured-output spaces by drawing new connections between submodular functions over combinatorial item sets and High-Order Potentials (HOPs) studied for graphical models. Specifically, we show via examples that when marginal gains of submodular diversity functions allow structured representations, this enables efficient (sub-linear time) approxi- mate maximization by reducing the greedy augmentation step to inference in a factor graph with appropriately constructed HOPs. We discuss benefits, tradeoffs, and show that our constructions lead to significantly better proposals.