The Secretary Problem with a Choice Function

  • Yasushi Kawase
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9472)


In the classical secretary problem, a decision-maker is willing to hire the best secretary out of n applicants that arrive in a random order, and the goal is to maximize the probability of choosing the best applicant. In this paper, we introduce the secretary problem with a choice function. The choice function represents the preference of the decision-maker. In this problem, the decision-maker hires some applicants, and the goal is to maximize the probability of choosing the best set of applicants defined by the choice function. We see that the secretary problem with a path-independent choice function generalizes secretary version of the stable matching problem, the maximum weight bipartite matching problem, and the maximum weight base problem in a matroid. When the choice function is path-independent, we provide an algorithm that succeeds with probability at least \(1/e^k\) where k is the maximum size of the choice, and prove that this is the best possible. Moreover, for the non-path-independent case, we prove that the success probability goes to arbitrary small for any algorithm even if the maximum size of the choice is 2.



The author thanks Tomomi Matsui and Keisuke Bando for valuable comments and suggestions. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 26887014.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tokyo Institute of TechnologyTokyoJapan

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