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Tractability of Multivariate Problems: Volume I: Linear Information
Erich Novak, University of Jena, Germany, and Henryk Woźniakowski, Columbia University, New York, NY
A publication of the European Mathematical Society.
EMS Tracts in Mathematics
2008; 395 pp; hardcover
Volume: 6
ISBN-10: 3-03719-026-4
ISBN-13: 978-3-03719-026-5
List Price: US$98
Member Price: US$78.40
Order Code: EMSTM/6
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Multivariate problems occur in many applications. These problems are defined on spaces of \(d\)-variate functions and \(d\) can be huge--in the hundreds or even in the thousands. Some high-dimensional problems can be solved efficiently to within \(\varepsilon\), i.e., the cost increases polynomially in \(\varepsilon^{-1}\) and \(d\). However, there are many multivariate problems for which even the minimal cost increases exponentially in \(d\). This exponential dependence on \(d\) is called intractability or the curse of dimensionality.

This is the first volume of a three-volume set comprising a comprehensive study of the tractability of multivariate problems. It is devoted to tractability in the case of algorithms using linear information and develops the theory for multivariate problems in various settings: worst case, average case, randomized and probabilistic. A problem is tractable if its minimal cost is not exponential in \(\varepsilon^{-1}\) and \(d\). There are various notions of tractability, depending on how we measure the lack of exponential dependence. For example, a problem is polynomially tractable if its minimal cost is polynomial in \(\varepsilon^{-1}\) and \(d\). The study of tractability was initiated about 15 years ago. This is the first and only research monograph on this subject.

Many multivariate problems suffer from the curse of dimensionality when they are defined over classical (unweighted) spaces. In this case, all variables and groups of variables play the same role, which causes the minimal cost to be exponential in \(d\). But many practically important problems are solved today for huge \(d\) in a reasonable time. One of the most intriguing challenges of the theory is to understand why this is possible. Multivariate problems may become weakly tractable, polynomially tractable or even strongly polynomially tractable if they are defined over weighted spaces with properly decaying weights. One of the main purposes of this book is to study weighted spaces and obtain necessary and sufficient conditions on weights for various notions of tractability.

The book is of interest for researchers working in computational mathematics, especially in approximation of high-dimensional problems. It may be also suitable for graduate courses and seminars. The text concludes with a list of thirty open problems that can be good candidates for future tractability research.

A publication of the European Mathematical Society (EMS). Distributed within the Americas by the American Mathematical Society.


Graduate students and research mathematicians interested in applications.

Table of Contents

  • Overview
  • Motivation for tractability studies
  • Twelve examples
  • Basic concepts and survey of IBC results
  • Worst case setting
  • Average case setting
  • Randomized setting
  • Generalized tractability
  • Appendices
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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