In computing, as in many aspects of life, changes incur cost. Many optimization problems are formulated as a one-time instance starting from scratch. However, a common case that arises is when we already have a set of prior assignments and must decide how to respond to a new set of constraints, given that each change from the current assignment comes at a price. That is, we would like to maximize the fitness or efficiency of our system, but we need to balance it with the changeout cost from the previous state.We provide a precise formulation for this tradeoff and analyze the resulting stable extensions of some fundamental problems in measurement and analytics. Our main technical contribution is a stable extension of Probability Proportional to Size (PPS) weighted random sampling, with applications to monitoring and anomaly detection problems. We also provide a general framework that applies to top-k, minimum spanning tree, and assignment. In both cases, we are able to provide exact solutions and discuss efficient incremental algorithms that can find new solutions as the input changes.

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