10,16,2021

News Blog Paper China
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.
 
Predicting Dynamic Embedding Trajectory in Temporal Interaction Networks2019-08-03   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Modeling sequential interactions between users and items/products is crucial in domains such as e-commerce, social networking, and education. Representation learning presents an attractive opportunity to model the dynamic evolution of users and items, where each user/item can be embedded in a Euclidean space and its evolution can be modeled by an embedding trajectory in this space. However, existing dynamic embedding methods generate embeddings only when users take actions and do not explicitly model the future trajectory of the user/item in the embedding space. Here we propose JODIE, a coupled recurrent neural network model that learns the embedding trajectories of users and items. JODIE employs two recurrent neural networks to update the embedding of a user and an item at every interaction. Crucially, JODIE also models the future embedding trajectory of a user/item. To this end, it introduces a novel projection operator that learns to estimate the embedding of the user at any time in the future. These estimated embeddings are then used to predict future user-item interactions. To make the method scalable, we develop a t-Batch algorithm that creates time-consistent batches and leads to 9x faster training. We conduct six experiments to validate JODIE 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 at least 20% in predicting future interactions and 12% in state change prediction.
 
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.
 
Dual-embedding based Neural Collaborative Filtering for Recommender Systems2021-02-04   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Among various recommender techniques, collaborative filtering (CF) is the most successful one. And a key problem in CF is how to represent users and items. Previous works usually represent a user (an item) as a vector of latent factors (aka. \textit{embedding}) and then model the interactions between users and items based on the representations. Despite its effectiveness, we argue that it's insufficient to yield satisfactory embeddings for collaborative filtering. Inspired by the idea of SVD++ that represents users based on themselves and their interacted items, we propose a general collaborative filtering framework named DNCF, short for Dual-embedding based Neural Collaborative Filtering, to utilize historical interactions to enhance the representation. In addition to learning the primitive embedding for a user (an item), we introduce an additional embedding from the perspective of the interacted items (users) to augment the user (item) representation. Extensive experiments on four publicly datasets demonstrated the effectiveness of our proposed DNCF framework by comparing its performance with several traditional matrix factorization models and other state-of-the-art deep learning based recommender models.
 
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.
 
User Embedding based Neighborhood Aggregation Method for Inductive Recommendation2021-02-15   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
We consider the problem of learning latent features (aka embedding) for users and items in a recommendation setting. Given only a user-item interaction graph, the goal is to recommend items for each user. Traditional approaches employ matrix factorization-based collaborative filtering methods. Recent methods using graph convolutional networks (e.g., LightGCN) achieve state-of-the-art performance. They learn both user and item embedding. One major drawback of most existing methods is that they are not inductive; they do not generalize for users and items unseen during training. Besides, existing network models are quite complex, difficult to train and scale. Motivated by LightGCN, we propose a graph convolutional network modeling approach for collaborative filtering CF-GCN. We solely learn user embedding and derive item embedding using light variant CF-LGCN-U performing neighborhood aggregation, making it scalable due to reduced model complexity. CF-LGCN-U models naturally possess the inductive capability for new items, and we propose a simple solution to generalize for new users. We show how the proposed models are related to LightGCN. As a by-product, we suggest a simple solution to make LightGCN inductive. We perform comprehensive experiments on several benchmark datasets and demonstrate the capabilities of the proposed approach. Experimental results show that similar or better generalization performance is achievable than the state of the art methods in both transductive and inductive settings.
 
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.
 
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.
 
Scalable Realistic Recommendation Datasets through Fractal Expansions2019-02-20   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recommender System research suffers currently from a disconnect between the size of academic data sets and the scale of industrial production systems. In order to bridge that gap we propose to generate more massive user/item interaction data sets by expanding pre-existing public data sets. User/item incidence matrices record interactions between users and items on a given platform as a large sparse matrix whose rows correspond to users and whose columns correspond to items. Our technique expands such matrices to larger numbers of rows (users), columns (items) and non zero values (interactions) while preserving key higher order statistical properties. We adapt the Kronecker Graph Theory to user/item incidence matrices and show that the corresponding fractal expansions preserve the fat-tailed distributions of user engagements, item popularity and singular value spectra of user/item interaction matrices. Preserving such properties is key to building large realistic synthetic data sets which in turn can be employed reliably to benchmark Recommender Systems and the systems employed to train them. We provide algorithms to produce such expansions and apply them to the MovieLens 20 million data set comprising 20 million ratings of 27K movies by 138K users. The resulting expanded data set has 10 billion ratings, 864K items and 2 million users in its smaller version and can be scaled up or down. A larger version features 655 billion ratings, 7 million items and 17 million users.
 
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.
 
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.
 
COMET: Convolutional Dimension Interaction for Deep Matrix Factorization2020-07-28   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Latent factor models play a dominant role among recommendation techniques. However, most of the existing latent factor models assume embedding dimensions are independent of each other, and thus regrettably ignore the interaction information across different embedding dimensions. In this paper, we propose a novel latent factor model called COMET (COnvolutional diMEnsion inTeraction), which provides the first attempt to model higher-order interaction signals among all latent dimensions in an explicit manner. To be specific, COMET stacks the embeddings of historical interactions horizontally, which results in two "embedding maps" that encode the original dimension information. In this way, users' and items' internal interactions can be exploited by convolutional neural networks with kernels of different sizes and a fully-connected multi-layer perceptron. Furthermore, the representations of users and items are enriched by the learnt interaction vectors, which can further be used to produce the final prediction. Extensive experiments and ablation studies on various public implicit feedback datasets clearly demonstrate the effectiveness and the rationality of our proposed method.
 
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.
 
A Correlation Maximization Approach for Cross Domain Co-Embeddings2018-09-10   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Although modern recommendation systems can exploit the structure in users' item feedback, most are powerless in the face of new users who provide no structure for them to exploit. In this paper we introduce ImplicitCE, an algorithm for recommending items to new users during their sign-up flow. ImplicitCE works by transforming users' implicit feedback towards auxiliary domain items into an embedding in the target domain item embedding space. ImplicitCE learns these embedding spaces and transformation function in an end-to-end fashion and can co-embed users and items with any differentiable similarity function. To train ImplicitCE we explore methods for maximizing the correlations between model predictions and users' affinities and introduce Sample Correlation Update, a novel and extremely simple training strategy. Finally, we show that ImplicitCE trained with Sample Correlation Update outperforms a variety of state of the art algorithms and loss functions on both a large scale Twitter dataset and the DBLP dataset.
 
Collaborative Filtering with Information-Rich and Information-Sparse Entities2014-03-06   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
In this paper, we consider a popular model for collaborative filtering in recommender systems where some users of a website rate some items, such as movies, and the goal is to recover the ratings of some or all of the unrated items of each user. In particular, we consider both the clustering model, where only users (or items) are clustered, and the co-clustering model, where both users and items are clustered, and further, we assume that some users rate many items (information-rich users) and some users rate only a few items (information-sparse users). When users (or items) are clustered, our algorithm can recover the rating matrix with $?(MK \log M)$ noisy entries while $MK$ entries are necessary, where $K$ is the number of clusters and $M$ is the number of items. In the case of co-clustering, we prove that $K^2$ entries are necessary for recovering the rating matrix, and our algorithm achieves this lower bound within a logarithmic factor when $K$ is sufficiently large. We compare our algorithms with a well-known algorithms called alternating minimization (AM), and a similarity score-based algorithm known as the popularity-among-friends (PAF) algorithm by applying all three to the MovieLens and Netflix data sets. Our co-clustering algorithm and AM have similar overall error rates when recovering the rating matrix, both of which are lower than the error rate under PAF. But more importantly, the error rate of our co-clustering algorithm is significantly lower than AM and PAF in the scenarios of interest in recommender systems: when recommending a few items to each user or when recommending items to users who only rated a few items (these users are the majority of the total user population). The performance difference increases even more when noise is added to the datasets.
 
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.
 
Neural Graph Collaborative Filtering2020-07-03   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Learning vector representations (aka. embeddings) of users and items lies at the core of modern recommender systems. Ranging from early matrix factorization to recently emerged deep learning based methods, existing efforts typically obtain a user's (or an item's) embedding by mapping from pre-existing features that describe the user (or the item), such as ID and attributes. We argue that an inherent drawback of such methods is that, the collaborative signal, which is latent in user-item interactions, is not encoded in the embedding process. As such, the resultant embeddings may not be sufficient to capture the collaborative filtering effect. In this work, we propose to integrate the user-item interactions -- more specifically the bipartite graph structure -- into the embedding process. We develop a new recommendation framework Neural Graph Collaborative Filtering (NGCF), which exploits the user-item graph structure by propagating embeddings on it. This leads to the expressive modeling of high-order connectivity in user-item graph, effectively injecting the collaborative signal into the embedding process in an explicit manner. We conduct extensive experiments on three public benchmarks, demonstrating significant improvements over several state-of-the-art models like HOP-Rec and Collaborative Memory Network. Further analysis verifies the importance of embedding propagation for learning better user and item representations, justifying the rationality and effectiveness of NGCF. Codes are available at https://github.com/xiangwang1223/neural_graph_collaborative_filtering.
 
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.
 
Sparse-Interest Network for Sequential Recommendation2021-02-18   ${\displaystyle \cong }$
Recent methods in sequential recommendation focus on learning an overall embedding vector from a user's behavior sequence for the next-item recommendation. However, from empirical analysis, we discovered that a user's behavior sequence often contains multiple conceptually distinct items, while a unified embedding vector is primarily affected by one's most recent frequent actions. Thus, it may fail to infer the next preferred item if conceptually similar items are not dominant in recent interactions. To this end, an alternative solution is to represent each user with multiple embedding vectors encoding different aspects of the user's intentions. Nevertheless, recent work on multi-interest embedding usually considers a small number of concepts discovered via clustering, which may not be comparable to the large pool of item categories in real systems. It is a non-trivial task to effectively model a large number of diverse conceptual prototypes, as items are often not conceptually well clustered in fine granularity. Besides, an individual usually interacts with only a sparse set of concepts. In light of this, we propose a novel \textbf{S}parse \textbf{I}nterest \textbf{NE}twork (SINE) for sequential recommendation. Our sparse-interest module can adaptively infer a sparse set of concepts for each user from the large concept pool and output multiple embeddings accordingly. Given multiple interest embeddings, we develop an interest aggregation module to actively predict the user's current intention and then use it to explicitly model multiple interests for next-item prediction. Empirical results on several public benchmark datasets and one large-scale industrial dataset demonstrate that SINE can achieve substantial improvement over state-of-the-art methods.
 
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.