This paper presents a combinatorial polynomial-time algorithm for minimizing submodular functions, answering an open question posed in 1981 by Grötschel, Lovász, and Schrijver. The algorithm employs a scaling scheme that uses a flow in the complete directed graph on the underlying set with each arc capacity equal to the scaled parameter. The resulting algorithm runs in time bounded by a polynomial in the size of the underlying set and the length of the largest absolute function value. The paper… CONTINUE READING