06,16,2021

 Graph Learning based Recommender Systems: A Review2021-05-13   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recent years have witnessed the fast development of the emerging topic of Graph Learning based Recommender Systems (GLRS). GLRS employ advanced graph learning approaches to model users' preferences and intentions as well as items' characteristics for recommendations. Differently from other RS approaches, including content-based filtering and collaborative filtering, GLRS are built on graphs where the important objects, e.g., users, items, and attributes, are either explicitly or implicitly connected. With the rapid development of graph learning techniques, exploring and exploiting homogeneous or heterogeneous relations in graphs are a promising direction for building more effective RS. In this paper, we provide a systematic review of GLRS, by discussing how they extract important knowledge from graph-based representations to improve the accuracy, reliability and explainability of the recommendations. First, we characterize and formalize GLRS, and then summarize and categorize the key challenges and main progress in this novel research area. Finally, we share some new research directions in this vibrant area. Sequential Recommender Systems: Challenges, Progress and Prospects2019-12-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ The emerging topic of sequential recommender systems has attracted increasing attention in recent years.Different from the conventional recommender systems including collaborative filtering and content-based filtering, SRSs try to understand and model the sequential user behaviors, the interactions between users and items, and the evolution of users preferences and item popularity over time. SRSs involve the above aspects for more precise characterization of user contexts, intent and goals, and item consumption trend, leading to more accurate, customized and dynamic recommendations.In this paper, we provide a systematic review on SRSs.We first present the characteristics of SRSs, and then summarize and categorize the key challenges in this research area, followed by the corresponding research progress consisting of the most recent and representative developments on this topic.Finally, we discuss the important research directions in this vibrant area. Deep Learning on Knowledge Graph for Recommender System: A Survey2020-03-25   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recent advances in research have demonstrated the effectiveness of knowledge graphs (KG) in providing valuable external knowledge to improve recommendation systems (RS). A knowledge graph is capable of encoding high-order relations that connect two objects with one or multiple related attributes. With the help of the emerging Graph Neural Networks (GNN), it is possible to extract both object characteristics and relations from KG, which is an essential factor for successful recommendations. In this paper, we provide a comprehensive survey of the GNN-based knowledge-aware deep recommender systems. Specifically, we discuss the state-of-the-art frameworks with a focus on their core component, i.e., the graph embedding module, and how they address practical recommendation issues such as scalability, cold-start and so on. We further summarize the commonly-used benchmark datasets, evaluation metrics as well as open-source codes. Finally, we conclude the survey and propose potential research directions in this rapidly growing field. Attacking Recommender Systems with Augmented User Profiles2020-07-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recommendation Systems (RS) have become an essential part of many online services. Due to its pivotal role in guiding customers towards purchasing, there is a natural motivation for unscrupulous parties to spoof RS for profits. In this paper, we study the shilling attack: a subsistent and profitable attack where an adversarial party injects a number of user profiles to promote or demote a target item. Conventional shilling attack models are based on simple heuristics that can be easily detected, or directly adopt adversarial attack methods without a special design for RS. Moreover, the study on the attack impact on deep learning based RS is missing in the literature, making the effects of shilling attack against real RS doubtful. We present a novel Augmented Shilling Attack framework (AUSH) and implement it with the idea of Generative Adversarial Network. AUSH is capable of tailoring attacks against RS according to budget and complex attack goals, such as targeting a specific user group. We experimentally show that the attack impact of AUSH is noticeable on a wide range of RS including both classic and modern deep learning based RS, while it is virtually undetectable by the state-of-the-art attack detection model. Adversarial Machine Learning in Recommender Systems: State of the art and Challenges2020-05-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Latent-factor models (LFM) based on collaborative filtering (CF), such as matrix factorization (MF) and deep CF methods, are widely used in modern recommender systems (RS) due to their excellent performance and recommendation accuracy. Notwithstanding their great success, in recent years, it has been shown that these methods are vulnerable to adversarial examples, i.e., subtle but non-random perturbations designed to force recommendation models to produce erroneous outputs. The main reason for this behavior is that user interaction data used for training of LFM can be contaminated by malicious activities or users' misoperation that can induce an unpredictable amount of natural noise and harm recommendation outcomes. On the other side, it has been shown that these systems, conceived originally to attack machine learning applications, can be successfully adopted to strengthen their robustness against attacks as well as to train more precise recommendation engines. In this respect, the goal of this survey is two-fold: (i) to present recent advances on AML-RS for the security of RS (i.e., attacking and defense recommendation models), (ii) to show another successful application of AML in generative adversarial networks (GANs), which use the core concept of learning in AML (i.e., the min-max game) for generative applications. In this survey, we provide an exhaustive literature review of 60 articles published in major RS and ML journals and conferences. This review serves as a reference for the RS community, working on the security of RS and recommendation models leveraging generative models to improve their quality. Learning Recommendations While Influencing Interests2018-03-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Personalized recommendation systems (RS) are extensively used in many services. Many of these are based on learning algorithms where the RS uses the recommendation history and the user response to learn an optimal strategy. Further, these algorithms are based on the assumption that the user interests are rigid. Specifically, they do not account for the effect of learning strategy on the evolution of the user interests. In this paper we develop influence models for a learning algorithm that is used to optimally recommend websites to web users. We adapt the model of \cite{Ioannidis10} to include an item-dependent reward to the RS from the suggestions that are accepted by the user. For this we first develop a static optimisation scheme when all the parameters are known. Next we develop a stochastic approximation based learning scheme for the RS to learn the optimal strategy when the user profiles are not known. Finally, we describe several user-influence models for the learning algorithm and analyze their effect on the steady user interests and on the steady state optimal strategy as compared to that when the users are not influenced. A Novel Privacy-Preserved Recommender System Framework based on Federated Learning2020-11-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recommender System (RS) is currently an effective way to solve information overload. To meet users' next click behavior, RS needs to collect users' personal information and behavior to achieve a comprehensive and profound user preference perception. However, these centrally collected data are privacy-sensitive, and any leakage may cause severe problems to both users and service providers. This paper proposed a novel privacy-preserved recommender system framework (PPRSF), through the application of federated learning paradigm, to enable the recommendation algorithm to be trained and carry out inference without centrally collecting users' private data. The PPRSF not only able to reduces the privacy leakage risk, satisfies legal and regulatory requirements but also allows various recommendation algorithms to be applied. RecSim: A Configurable Simulation Platform for Recommender Systems2019-09-26   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ We propose RecSim, a configurable platform for authoring simulation environments for recommender systems (RSs) that naturally supports sequential interaction with users. RecSim allows the creation of new environments that reflect particular aspects of user behavior and item structure at a level of abstraction well-suited to pushing the limits of current reinforcement learning (RL) and RS techniques in sequential interactive recommendation problems. Environments can be easily configured that vary assumptions about: user preferences and item familiarity; user latent state and its dynamics; and choice models and other user response behavior. We outline how RecSim offers value to RL and RS researchers and practitioners, and how it can serve as a vehicle for academic-industrial collaboration. Recommender Systems Based on Generative Adversarial Networks: A Problem-Driven Perspective2020-03-05   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recommender systems (RS) play a very important role in various aspects of people's online life. Many companies leverage RS to help users discover new and favored items. Despite their empirical success, these systems still suffer from two main problems: data noise and data sparsity. In recent years, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) have received a surge of interests in many fields because of their great potential to learn complex real data distribution, and they also provide new means to mitigate the aforementioned problems of RS. Particularly, owing to adversarial learning, the problem of data noise can be handled by adding adversarial perturbations or forcing discriminators to tell the informative and uninformative data examples apart. As for the mitigation of data sparsity issue, the GAN-based models are able to replicate the real distribution of the user-item interactions and augment the available data. To gain a comprehensive understanding of these GAN-based recommendation models, we provide a retrospective of these studies and organize them from a problem-driven perspective. Specifically, we propose a taxonomy of these models, along with a detailed description of them and their advantages. Finally, we elaborate on several open issues and expand on current trends in the GAN-based RS. GLIMG: Global and Local Item Graphs for Top-N Recommender Systems2020-07-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Graph-based recommendation models work well for top-N recommender systems due to their capability to capture the potential relationships between entities. However, most of the existing methods only construct a single global item graph shared by all the users and regrettably ignore the diverse tastes between different user groups. Inspired by the success of local models for recommendation, this paper provides the first attempt to investigate multiple local item graphs along with a global item graph for graph-based recommendation models. We argue that recommendation on global and local graphs outperforms that on a single global graph or multiple local graphs. Specifically, we propose a novel graph-based recommendation model named GLIMG (Global and Local IteM Graphs), which simultaneously captures both the global and local user tastes. By integrating the global and local graphs into an adapted semi-supervised learning model, users' preferences on items are propagated globally and locally. Extensive experimental results on real-world datasets show that our proposed method consistently outperforms the state-of-the art counterparts on the top-N recommendation task. CHAMELEON: A Deep Learning Meta-Architecture for News Recommender Systems [Phd. Thesis]2019-12-29   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recommender Systems (RS) have became a popular research topic and, since 2016, Deep Learning methods and techniques have been increasingly explored in this area. News RS are aimed to personalize users experiences and help them discover relevant articles from a large and dynamic search space. The main contribution of this research was named CHAMELEON, a Deep Learning meta-architecture designed to tackle the specific challenges of news recommendation. It consists of a modular reference architecture which can be instantiated using different neural building blocks. As information about users' past interactions is scarce in the news domain, the user context can be leveraged to deal with the user cold-start problem. Articles' content is also important to tackle the item cold-start problem. Additionally, the temporal decay of items (articles) relevance is very accelerated in the news domain. Furthermore, external breaking events may temporally attract global readership attention, a phenomenon generally known as concept drift in machine learning. All those characteristics are explicitly modeled on this research by a contextual hybrid session-based recommendation approach using Recurrent Neural Networks. The task addressed by this research is session-based news recommendation, i.e., next-click prediction using only information available in the current user session. A method is proposed for a realistic temporal offline evaluation of such task, replaying the stream of user clicks and fresh articles being continuously published in a news portal. Experiments performed with two large datasets have shown the effectiveness of the CHAMELEON for news recommendation on many quality factors such as accuracy, item coverage, novelty, and reduced item cold-start problem, when compared to other traditional and state-of-the-art session-based recommendation algorithms. A Black-Box Attack Model for Visually-Aware Recommender Systems2020-11-05   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Due to the advances in deep learning, visually-aware recommender systems (RS) have recently attracted increased research interest. Such systems combine collaborative signals with images, usually represented as feature vectors outputted by pre-trained image models. Since item catalogs can be huge, recommendation service providers often rely on images that are supplied by the item providers. In this work, we show that relying on such external sources can make an RS vulnerable to attacks, where the goal of the attacker is to unfairly promote certain pushed items. Specifically, we demonstrate how a new visual attack model can effectively influence the item scores and rankings in a black-box approach, i.e., without knowing the parameters of the model. The main underlying idea is to systematically create small human-imperceptible perturbations of the pushed item image and to devise appropriate gradient approximation methods to incrementally raise the pushed item's score. Experimental evaluations on two datasets show that the novel attack model is effective even when the contribution of the visual features to the overall performance of the recommender system is modest. Variational Auto-encoder for Recommender Systems with Exploration-Exploitation2020-06-10   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Variational auto-encoder (VAE) is an efficient non-linear latent factor model that has been widely applied in recommender systems (RS). However, a drawback of VAE for RS is their inability of exploration. A good RS is expected to recommend items that are known to enjoy and items that are novel to try. In this work, we introduce an exploitation-exploration motivated VAE (XploVAE) to collaborative filtering. To facilitate personalized recommendations, we construct user-specific subgraphs, which contain the first-order proximity capturing observed user-item interactions for exploitation and the higher-order proximity for exploration. We further develop a hierarchical latent space model to learn the population distribution of the user subgraphs, and learn the personalized item embedding. Empirical experiments prove the effectiveness of our proposed method on various real-world data sets. Learning over no-Preferred and Preferred Sequence of items for Robust Recommendation2020-12-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ In this paper, we propose a theoretically founded sequential strategy for training large-scale Recommender Systems (RS) over implicit feedback, mainly in the form of clicks. The proposed approach consists in minimizing pairwise ranking loss over blocks of consecutive items constituted by a sequence of non-clicked items followed by a clicked one for each user. We present two variants of this strategy where model parameters are updated using either the momentum method or a gradient-based approach. To prevent from updating the parameters for an abnormally high number of clicks over some targeted items (mainly due to bots), we introduce an upper and a lower threshold on the number of updates for each user. These thresholds are estimated over the distribution of the number of blocks in the training set. The thresholds affect the decision of RS and imply a shift over the distribution of items that are shown to the users. Furthermore, we provide a convergence analysis of both algorithms and demonstrate their practical efficiency over six large-scale collections, both regarding different ranking measures and computational time. Graph Neural Networks for Social Recommendation2019-11-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ In recent years, Graph Neural Networks (GNNs), which can naturally integrate node information and topological structure, have been demonstrated to be powerful in learning on graph data. These advantages of GNNs provide great potential to advance social recommendation since data in social recommender systems can be represented as user-user social graph and user-item graph; and learning latent factors of users and items is the key. However, building social recommender systems based on GNNs faces challenges. For example, the user-item graph encodes both interactions and their associated opinions; social relations have heterogeneous strengths; users involve in two graphs (e.g., the user-user social graph and the user-item graph). To address the three aforementioned challenges simultaneously, in this paper, we present a novel graph neural network framework (GraphRec) for social recommendations. In particular, we provide a principled approach to jointly capture interactions and opinions in the user-item graph and propose the framework GraphRec, which coherently models two graphs and heterogeneous strengths. Extensive experiments on two real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework GraphRec. Our code is available at \url{https://github.com/wenqifan03/GraphRec-WWW19} Sequential Learning over Implicit Feedback for Robust Large-Scale Recommender Systems2019-02-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ In this paper, we propose a robust sequential learning strategy for training large-scale Recommender Systems (RS) over implicit feedback mainly in the form of clicks. Our approach relies on the minimization of a pairwise ranking loss over blocks of consecutive items constituted by a sequence of non-clicked items followed by a clicked one for each user. Parameter updates are discarded if for a given user the number of sequential blocks is below or above some given thresholds estimated over the distribution of the number of blocks in the training set. This is to prevent from an abnormal number of clicks over some targeted items, mainly due to bots; or very few user interactions. Both scenarios affect the decision of RS and imply a shift over the distribution of items that are shown to the users. We provide a theoretical analysis showing that in the case where the ranking loss is convex, the deviation between the loss with respect to the sequence of weights found by the proposed algorithm and its minimum is bounded. Furthermore, experimental results on five large-scale collections demonstrate the efficiency of the proposed algorithm with respect to the state-of-the-art approaches, both regarding different ranking measures and computation time. A Survey on Neural Recommendation: From Collaborative Filtering to Content and Context Enriched Recommendation2021-04-27   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Influenced by the stunning success of deep learning in computer vision and language understanding, research in recommendation has shifted to inventing new recommender models based on neural networks. In recent years, we have witnessed significant progress in developing neural recommender models, which generalize and surpass traditional recommender models owing to the strong representation power of neural networks. In this survey paper, we conduct a systematic review on neural recommender models, aiming to summarize the field to facilitate future progress. Distinct from existing surveys that categorize existing methods based on the taxonomy of deep learning techniques, we instead summarize the field from the perspective of recommendation modeling, which could be more instructive to researchers and practitioners working on recommender systems. Specifically, we divide the work into three types based on the data they used for recommendation modeling: 1) collaborative filtering models, which leverage the key source of user-item interaction data; 2) content enriched models, which additionally utilize the side information associated with users and items, like user profile and item knowledge graph; and 3) context enriched models, which account for the contextual information associated with an interaction, such as time, location, and the past interactions. After reviewing representative works for each type, we finally discuss some promising directions in this field, including benchmarking recommender systems, graph reasoning based recommendation models, and explainable and fair recommendations for social good. RippleNet: Propagating User Preferences on the Knowledge Graph for Recommender Systems2018-08-25   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ To address the sparsity and cold start problem of collaborative filtering, researchers usually make use of side information, such as social networks or item attributes, to improve recommendation performance. This paper considers the knowledge graph as the source of side information. To address the limitations of existing embedding-based and path-based methods for knowledge-graph-aware recommendation, we propose Ripple Network, an end-to-end framework that naturally incorporates the knowledge graph into recommender systems. Similar to actual ripples propagating on the surface of water, Ripple Network stimulates the propagation of user preferences over the set of knowledge entities by automatically and iteratively extending a user's potential interests along links in the knowledge graph. The multiple "ripples" activated by a user's historically clicked items are thus superposed to form the preference distribution of the user with respect to a candidate item, which could be used for predicting the final clicking probability. Through extensive experiments on real-world datasets, we demonstrate that Ripple Network achieves substantial gains in a variety of scenarios, including movie, book and news recommendation, over several state-of-the-art baselines. Optimizing Long-term Social Welfare in Recommender Systems: A Constrained Matching Approach2020-07-31   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Most recommender systems (RS) research assumes that a user's utility can be maximized independently of the utility of the other agents (e.g., other users, content providers). In realistic settings, this is often not true---the dynamics of an RS ecosystem couple the long-term utility of all agents. In this work, we explore settings in which content providers cannot remain viable unless they receive a certain level of user engagement. We formulate the recommendation problem in this setting as one of equilibrium selection in the induced dynamical system, and show that it can be solved as an optimal constrained matching problem. Our model ensures the system reaches an equilibrium with maximal social welfare supported by a sufficiently diverse set of viable providers. We demonstrate that even in a simple, stylized dynamical RS model, the standard myopic approach to recommendation---always matching a user to the best provider---performs poorly. We develop several scalable techniques to solve the matching problem, and also draw connections to various notions of user regret and fairness, arguing that these outcomes are fairer in a utilitarian sense. RadixSpline: A Single-Pass Learned Index2020-05-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$ Recent research has shown that learned models can outperform state-of-the-art index structures in size and lookup performance. While this is a very promising result, existing learned structures are often cumbersome to implement and are slow to build. In fact, most approaches that we are aware of require multiple training passes over the data. We introduce RadixSpline (RS), a learned index that can be built in a single pass over the data and is competitive with state-of-the-art learned index models, like RMI, in size and lookup performance. We evaluate RS using the SOSD benchmark and show that it achieves competitive results on all datasets, despite the fact that it only has two parameters.