News Blog Paper China
Interacting Attention-gated Recurrent Networks for Recommendation2017-09-07   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Capturing the temporal dynamics of user preferences over items is important for recommendation. Existing methods mainly assume that all time steps in user-item interaction history are equally relevant to recommendation, which however does not apply in real-world scenarios where user-item interactions can often happen accidentally. More importantly, they learn user and item dynamics separately, thus failing to capture their joint effects on user-item interactions. To better model user and item dynamics, we present the Interacting Attention-gated Recurrent Network (IARN) which adopts the attention model to measure the relevance of each time step. In particular, we propose a novel attention scheme to learn the attention scores of user and item history in an interacting way, thus to account for the dependencies between user and item dynamics in shaping user-item interactions. By doing so, IARN can selectively memorize different time steps of a user's history when predicting her preferences over different items. Our model can therefore provide meaningful interpretations for recommendation results, which could be further enhanced by auxiliary features. Extensive validation on real-world datasets shows that IARN consistently outperforms state-of-the-art methods.
Pairwise Interactive Graph Attention Network for Context-Aware Recommendation2019-11-18   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Context-aware recommender systems (CARS), which consider rich side information to improve recommendation performance, have caught more and more attention in both academia and industry. How to predict user preferences from diverse contextual features is the core of CARS. Several recent models pay attention to user behaviors and use specifically designed structures to extract adaptive user interests from history behaviors. However, few works take item history interactions into consideration, which leads to the insufficiency of item feature representation and item attraction extraction. From these observations, we model the user-item interaction as a dynamic interaction graph (DIG) and proposed a GNN-based model called Pairwise Interactive Graph Attention Network (PIGAT) to capture dynamic user interests and item attractions simultaneously. PIGAT introduces the attention mechanism to consider the importance of each interacted user/item to both the user and the item, which captures user interests, item attractions and their influence on the recommendation context. Moreover, confidence embeddings are applied to interactions to distinguish the confidence of interactions occurring at different times. Then more expressive user/item representations and adaptive interaction features are generated, which benefits the recommendation performance especially when involving long-tail items. We conduct experiments on three real-world datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness of PIGAT.
Feature-based factorized Bilinear Similarity Model for Cold-Start Top-n Item Recommendation2019-04-22   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recommending new items to existing users has remained a challenging problem due to absence of user's past preferences for these items. The user personalized non-collaborative methods based on item features can be used to address this item cold-start problem. These methods rely on similarities between the target item and user's previous preferred items. While computing similarities based on item features, these methods overlook the interactions among the features of the items and consider them independently. Modeling interactions among features can be helpful as some features, when considered together, provide a stronger signal on the relevance of an item when compared to case where features are considered independently. To address this important issue, in this work we introduce the Feature-based factorized Bilinear Similarity Model (FBSM), which learns factorized bilinear similarity model for TOP-n recommendation of new items, given the information about items preferred by users in past as well as the features of these items. We carry out extensive empirical evaluations on benchmark datasets, and we find that the proposed FBSM approach improves upon traditional non-collaborative methods in terms of recommendation performance. Moreover, the proposed approach also learns insightful interactions among item features from data, which lead to deep understanding on how these interactions contribute to personalized recommendation.
Dynamic Graph Collaborative Filtering2021-01-07   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Dynamic recommendation is essential for modern recommender systems to provide real-time predictions based on sequential data. In real-world scenarios, the popularity of items and interests of users change over time. Based on this assumption, many previous works focus on interaction sequences and learn evolutionary embeddings of users and items. However, we argue that sequence-based models are not able to capture collaborative information among users and items directly. Here we propose Dynamic Graph Collaborative Filtering (DGCF), a novel framework leveraging dynamic graphs to capture collaborative and sequential relations of both items and users at the same time. We propose three update mechanisms: zero-order 'inheritance', first-order 'propagation', and second-order 'aggregation', to represent the impact on a user or item when a new interaction occurs. Based on them, we update related user and item embeddings simultaneously when interactions occur in turn, and then use the latest embeddings to make recommendations. Extensive experiments conducted on three public datasets show that DGCF significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art dynamic recommendation methods up to 30. Our approach achieves higher performance when the dataset contains less action repetition, indicating the effectiveness of integrating dynamic collaborative information.
Sequential recommendation with metric models based on frequent sequences2020-08-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Modeling user preferences (long-term history) and user dynamics (short-term history) is of greatest importance to build efficient sequential recommender systems. The challenge lies in the successful combination of the whole user's history and his recent actions (sequential dynamics) to provide personalized recommendations. Existing methods capture the sequential dynamics of a user using fixed-order Markov chains (usually first order chains) regardless of the user, which limits both the impact of the past of the user on the recommendation and the ability to adapt its length to the user profile. In this article, we propose to use frequent sequences to identify the most relevant part of the user history for the recommendation. The most salient items are then used in a unified metric model that embeds items based on user preferences and sequential dynamics. Extensive experiments demonstrate that our method outperforms state-of-the-art, especially on sparse datasets. We show that considering sequences of varying lengths improves the recommendations and we also emphasize that these sequences provide explanations on the recommendation.
Sequential Recommendation with Dual Side Neighbor-based Collaborative Relation Modeling2019-11-10   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Sequential recommendation task aims to predict user preference over items in the future given user historical behaviors. The order of user behaviors implies that there are resourceful sequential patterns embedded in the behavior history which reveal the underlying dynamics of user interests. Various sequential recommendation methods are proposed to model the dynamic user behaviors. However, most of the models only consider the user's own behaviors and dynamics, while ignoring the collaborative relations among users and items, i.e., similar tastes of users or analogous properties of items. Without modeling collaborative relations, those methods suffer from the lack of recommendation diversity and thus may have worse performance. Worse still, most existing methods only consider the user-side sequence and ignore the temporal dynamics on the item side. To tackle the problems of the current sequential recommendation models, we propose Sequential Collaborative Recommender (SCoRe) which effectively mines high-order collaborative information using cross-neighbor relation modeling and, additionally utilizes both user-side and item-side historical sequences to better capture user and item dynamics. Experiments on three real-world yet large-scale datasets demonstrate the superiority of the proposed model over strong baselines.
A Latent Source Model for Online Collaborative Filtering2014-10-31   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Despite the prevalence of collaborative filtering in recommendation systems, there has been little theoretical development on why and how well it works, especially in the "online" setting, where items are recommended to users over time. We address this theoretical gap by introducing a model for online recommendation systems, cast item recommendation under the model as a learning problem, and analyze the performance of a cosine-similarity collaborative filtering method. In our model, each of $n$ users either likes or dislikes each of $m$ items. We assume there to be $k$ types of users, and all the users of a given type share a common string of probabilities determining the chance of liking each item. At each time step, we recommend an item to each user, where a key distinction from related bandit literature is that once a user consumes an item (e.g., watches a movie), then that item cannot be recommended to the same user again. The goal is to maximize the number of likable items recommended to users over time. Our main result establishes that after nearly $\log(km)$ initial learning time steps, a simple collaborative filtering algorithm achieves essentially optimal performance without knowing $k$. The algorithm has an exploitation step that uses cosine similarity and two types of exploration steps, one to explore the space of items (standard in the literature) and the other to explore similarity between users (novel to this work).
Deep Coevolutionary Network: Embedding User and Item Features for Recommendation2017-02-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recommender systems often use latent features to explain the behaviors of users and capture the properties of items. As users interact with different items over time, user and item features can influence each other, evolve and co-evolve over time. The compatibility of user and item's feature further influence the future interaction between users and items. Recently, point process based models have been proposed in the literature aiming to capture the temporally evolving nature of these latent features. However, these models often make strong parametric assumptions about the evolution process of the user and item latent features, which may not reflect the reality, and has limited power in expressing the complex and nonlinear dynamics underlying these processes. To address these limitations, we propose a novel deep coevolutionary network model (DeepCoevolve), for learning user and item features based on their interaction graph. DeepCoevolve use recurrent neural network (RNN) over evolving networks to define the intensity function in point processes, which allows the model to capture complex mutual influence between users and items, and the feature evolution over time. We also develop an efficient procedure for training the model parameters, and show that the learned models lead to significant improvements in recommendation and activity prediction compared to previous state-of-the-arts parametric models.
Wasserstein Collaborative Filtering for Item Cold-start Recommendation2019-09-09   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The item cold-start problem seriously limits the recommendation performance of Collaborative Filtering (CF) methods when new items have either none or very little interactions. To solve this issue, many modern Internet applications propose to predict a new item's interaction from the possessing contents. However, it is difficult to design and learn a map between the item's interaction history and the corresponding contents. In this paper, we apply the Wasserstein distance to address the item cold-start problem. Given item content information, we can calculate the similarity between the interacted items and cold-start ones, so that a user's preference on cold-start items can be inferred by minimizing the Wasserstein distance between the distributions over these two types of items. We further adopt the idea of CF and propose Wasserstein CF (WCF) to improve the recommendation performance on cold-start items. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of WCF over state-of-the-art approaches.
Personalized Top-N Sequential Recommendation via Convolutional Sequence Embedding2018-09-19   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Top-$N$ sequential recommendation models each user as a sequence of items interacted in the past and aims to predict top-$N$ ranked items that a user will likely interact in a `near future'. The order of interaction implies that sequential patterns play an important role where more recent items in a sequence have a larger impact on the next item. In this paper, we propose a Convolutional Sequence Embedding Recommendation Model (\emph{Caser}) as a solution to address this requirement. The idea is to embed a sequence of recent items into an `image' in the time and latent spaces and learn sequential patterns as local features of the image using convolutional filters. This approach provides a unified and flexible network structure for capturing both general preferences and sequential patterns. The experiments on public datasets demonstrated that Caser consistently outperforms state-of-the-art sequential recommendation methods on a variety of common evaluation metrics.
Addressing the Item Cold-start Problem by Attribute-driven Active Learning2018-05-23   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In recommender systems, cold-start issues are situations where no previous events, e.g. ratings, are known for certain users or items. In this paper, we focus on the item cold-start problem. Both content information (e.g. item attributes) and initial user ratings are valuable for seizing users' preferences on a new item. However, previous methods for the item cold-start problem either 1) incorporate content information into collaborative filtering to perform hybrid recommendation, or 2) actively select users to rate the new item without considering content information and then do collaborative filtering. In this paper, we propose a novel recommendation scheme for the item cold-start problem by leverage both active learning and items' attribute information. Specifically, we design useful user selection criteria based on items' attributes and users' rating history, and combine the criteria in an optimization framework for selecting users. By exploiting the feedback ratings, users' previous ratings and items' attributes, we then generate accurate rating predictions for the other unselected users. Experimental results on two real-world datasets show the superiority of our proposed method over traditional methods.
Regret Bounds and Regimes of Optimality for User-User and Item-Item Collaborative Filtering2019-05-07   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We consider an online model for recommendation systems, with each user being recommended an item at each time-step and providing 'like' or 'dislike' feedback. Each user may be recommended a given item at most once. A latent variable model specifies the user preferences: both users and items are clustered into types. All users of a given type have identical preferences for the items, and similarly, items of a given type are either all liked or all disliked by a given user. We assume that the matrix encoding the preferences of each user type for each item type is randomly generated; in this way, the model captures structure in both the item and user spaces, the amount of structure depending on the number of each of the types. The measure of performance of the recommendation system is the expected number of disliked recommendations per user, defined as expected regret. We propose two algorithms inspired by user-user and item-item collaborative filtering (CF), modified to explicitly make exploratory recommendations, and prove performance guarantees in terms of their expected regret. For two regimes of model parameters, with structure only in item space or only in user space, we prove information-theoretic lower bounds on regret that match our upper bounds up to logarithmic factors. Our analysis elucidates system operating regimes in which existing CF algorithms are nearly optimal.
Learning Item-Interaction Embeddings for User Recommendations2018-12-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Industry-scale recommendation systems have become a cornerstone of the e-commerce shopping experience. For Etsy, an online marketplace with over 50 million handmade and vintage items, users come to rely on personalized recommendations to surface relevant items from its massive inventory. One hallmark of Etsy's shopping experience is the multitude of ways in which a user can interact with an item they are interested in: they can view it, favorite it, add it to a collection, add it to cart, purchase it, etc. We hypothesize that the different ways in which a user interacts with an item indicates different kinds of intent. Consequently, a user's recommendations should be based not only on the item from their past activity, but also the way in which they interacted with that item. In this paper, we propose a novel method for learning interaction-based item embeddings that encode the co-occurrence patterns of not only the item itself, but also the interaction type. The learned embeddings give us a convenient way of approximating the likelihood that one item-interaction pair would co-occur with another by way of a simple inner product. Because of its computational efficiency, our model lends itself naturally as a candidate set selection method, and we evaluate it as such in an industry-scale recommendation system that serves live traffic on Etsy.com. Our experiments reveal that taking interaction type into account shows promising results in improving the accuracy of modeling user shopping behavior.
Explainable Recommendation Systems by Generalized Additive Models with Manifest and Latent Interactions2020-12-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In recent years, the field of recommendation systems has attracted increasing attention to developing predictive models that provide explanations of why an item is recommended to a user. The explanations can be either obtained by post-hoc diagnostics after fitting a relatively complex model or embedded into an intrinsically interpretable model. In this paper, we propose the explainable recommendation systems based on a generalized additive model with manifest and latent interactions (GAMMLI). This model architecture is intrinsically interpretable, as it additively consists of the user and item main effects, the manifest user-item interactions based on observed features, and the latent interaction effects from residuals. Unlike conventional collaborative filtering methods, the group effect of users and items are considered in GAMMLI. It is beneficial for enhancing the model interpretability, and can also facilitate the cold-start recommendation problem. A new Python package GAMMLI is developed for efficient model training and visualized interpretation of the results. By numerical experiments based on simulation data and real-world cases, the proposed method is shown to have advantages in both predictive performance and explainable recommendation.
Improving Session Recommendation with Recurrent Neural Networks by Exploiting Dwell Time2017-06-30   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recently, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) have been applied to the task of session-based recommendation. These approaches use RNNs to predict the next item in a user session based on the previ- ously visited items. While some approaches consider additional item properties, we argue that item dwell time can be used as an implicit measure of user interest to improve session-based item recommen- dations. We propose an extension to existing RNN approaches that captures user dwell time in addition to the visited items and show that recommendation performance can be improved. Additionally, we investigate the usefulness of a single validation split for model selection in the case of minor improvements and find that in our case the best model is not selected and a fold-like study with different validation sets is necessary to ensure the selection of the best model.
NISER: Normalized Item and Session Representations to Handle Popularity Bias2019-12-12   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
The goal of session-based recommendation (SR) models is to utilize the information from past actions (e.g. item/product clicks) in a session to recommend items that a user is likely to click next. Recently it has been shown that the sequence of item interactions in a session can be modeled as graph-structured data to better account for complex item transitions. Graph neural networks (GNNs) can learn useful representations for such session-graphs, and have been shown to improve over sequential models such as recurrent neural networks [14]. However, we note that these GNN-based recommendation models suffer from popularity bias: the models are biased towards recommending popular items, and fail to recommend relevant long-tail items (less popular or less frequent items). Therefore, these models perform poorly for the less popular new items arriving daily in a practical online setting. We demonstrate that this issue is, in part, related to the magnitude or norm of the learned item and session-graph representations (embedding vectors). We propose a training procedure that mitigates this issue by using normalized representations. The models using normalized item and session-graph representations perform significantly better: i. for the less popular long-tail items in the offline setting, and ii. for the less popular newly introduced items in the online setting. Furthermore, our approach significantly improves upon existing state-of-the-art on three benchmark datasets.
Learning Dynamic Embeddings from Temporal Interactions2018-12-05   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Modeling a sequence of interactions between users and items (e.g., products, posts, or courses) is crucial in domains such as e-commerce, social networking, and education to predict future interactions. Representation learning presents an attractive solution to model the dynamic evolution of user and item properties, where each user/item can be embedded in a euclidean space and its evolution can be modeled by dynamic changes in embedding. However, existing embedding methods either generate static embeddings, treat users and items independently, or are not scalable. Here we present JODIE, a coupled recurrent model to jointly learn the dynamic embeddings of users and items from a sequence of user-item interactions. JODIE has three components. First, the update component updates the user and item embedding from each interaction using their previous embeddings with the two mutually-recursive Recurrent Neural Networks. Second, a novel projection component is trained to forecast the embedding of users at any future time. Finally, the prediction component directly predicts the embedding of the item in a future interaction. For models that learn from a sequence of interactions, traditional training data batching cannot be done due to complex user-user dependencies. Therefore, we present a novel batching algorithm called t-Batch that generates time-consistent batches of training data that can run in parallel, giving massive speed-up. We conduct six experiments on two prediction tasks---future interaction prediction and state change prediction---using four real-world datasets. We show that JODIE outperforms six state-of-the-art algorithms in these tasks by up to 22.4%. Moreover, we show that JODIE is highly scalable and up to 9.2x faster than comparable models. As an additional experiment, we illustrate that JODIE can predict student drop-out from courses five interactions in advance.
Online Interactive Collaborative Filtering Using Multi-Armed Bandit with Dependent Arms2017-08-11   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Online interactive recommender systems strive to promptly suggest to consumers appropriate items (e.g., movies, news articles) according to the current context including both the consumer and item content information. However, such context information is often unavailable in practice for the recommendation, where only the users' interaction data on items can be utilized. Moreover, the lack of interaction records, especially for new users and items, worsens the performance of recommendation further. To address these issues, collaborative filtering (CF), one of the recommendation techniques relying on the interaction data only, as well as the online multi-armed bandit mechanisms, capable of achieving the balance between exploitation and exploration, are adopted in the online interactive recommendation settings, by assuming independent items (i.e., arms). Nonetheless, the assumption rarely holds in reality, since the real-world items tend to be correlated with each other (e.g., two articles with similar topics). In this paper, we study online interactive collaborative filtering problems by considering the dependencies among items. We explicitly formulate the item dependencies as the clusters on arms, where the arms within a single cluster share the similar latent topics. In light of the topic modeling techniques, we come up with a generative model to generate the items from their underlying topics. Furthermore, an efficient online algorithm based on particle learning is developed for inferring both latent parameters and states of our model. Additionally, our inferred model can be naturally integrated with existing multi-armed selection strategies in the online interactive collaborating setting. Empirical studies on two real-world applications, online recommendations of movies and news, demonstrate both the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed approach.
MeLU: Meta-Learned User Preference Estimator for Cold-Start Recommendation2019-07-31   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
This paper proposes a recommender system to alleviate the cold-start problem that can estimate user preferences based on only a small number of items. To identify a user's preference in the cold state, existing recommender systems, such as Netflix, initially provide items to a user; we call those items evidence candidates. Recommendations are then made based on the items selected by the user. Previous recommendation studies have two limitations: (1) the users who consumed a few items have poor recommendations and (2) inadequate evidence candidates are used to identify user preferences. We propose a meta-learning-based recommender system called MeLU to overcome these two limitations. From meta-learning, which can rapidly adopt new task with a few examples, MeLU can estimate new user's preferences with a few consumed items. In addition, we provide an evidence candidate selection strategy that determines distinguishing items for customized preference estimation. We validate MeLU with two benchmark datasets, and the proposed model reduces at least 5.92% mean absolute error than two comparative models on the datasets. We also conduct a user study experiment to verify the evidence selection strategy.
Thompson Sampling for a Fatigue-aware Online Recommendation System2019-04-14   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper we consider an online recommendation setting, where a platform recommends a sequence of items to its users at every time period. The users respond by selecting one of the items recommended or abandon the platform due to fatigue from seeing less useful items. Assuming a parametric stochastic model of user behavior, which captures positional effects of these items as well as the abandoning behavior of users, the platform's goal is to recommend sequences of items that are competitive to the single best sequence of items in hindsight, without knowing the true user model a priori. Naively applying a stochastic bandit algorithm in this setting leads to an exponential dependence on the number of items. We propose a new Thompson sampling based algorithm with expected regret that is polynomial in the number of items in this combinatorial setting, and performs extremely well in practice.