In the video recommendation, watch time is commonly adopted as an indicator of user interest. However, watch time is not only influenced by the matching of users' interests but also by other factors, such as duration bias and noisy watching. Duration bias refers to the tendency for users to spend more time on videos with longer durations, regardless of their actual interest level. Noisy watching, on the other hand, describes users taking time to determine whether they like a video or not, which can result in users spending time watching videos they do not like. Consequently, the existence of duration bias and noisy watching make watch time an inadequate label for indicating user interest. Furthermore, current methods primarily address duration bias and ignore the impact of noisy watching, which may limit their effectiveness in uncovering user interest from watch time. In this study, we first analyze the generation mechanism of users' watch time from a unified causal viewpoint. Specifically, we considered the watch time as a mixture of the user's actual interest level, the duration-biased watch time, and the noisy watch time. To mitigate both the duration bias and noisy watching, we propose Debiased and Denoised watch time Correction (D$^2$Co), which can be divided into two steps: First, we employ a duration-wise Gaussian Mixture Model plus frequency-weighted moving average for estimating the bias and noise terms; then we utilize a sensitivity-controlled correction function to separate the user interest from the watch time, which is robust to the estimation error of bias and noise terms. The experiments on two public video recommendation datasets and online A/B testing indicate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
In real-world streaming recommender systems, user preferences often dynamically change over time (e.g., a user may have different preferences during weekdays and weekends). Existing bandit-based streaming recommendation models only consider time as a timestamp, without explicitly modeling the relationship between time variables and time-varying user preferences. This leads to recommendation models that cannot quickly adapt to dynamic scenarios. To address this issue, we propose a contextual bandit approach using hypernetwork, called HyperBandit, which takes time features as input and dynamically adjusts the recommendation model for time-varying user preferences. Specifically, HyperBandit maintains a neural network capable of generating the parameters for estimating time-varying rewards, taking into account the correlation between time features and user preferences. Using the estimated time-varying rewards, a bandit policy is employed to make online recommendations by learning the latent item contexts. To meet the real-time requirements in streaming recommendation scenarios, we have verified the existence of a low-rank structure in the parameter matrix and utilize low-rank factorization for efficient training. Theoretically, we demonstrate a sublinear regret upper bound against the best policy. Extensive experiments on real-world datasets show that the proposed HyperBandit consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art baselines in terms of accumulated rewards.
Multi-stakeholder recommender systems involve various roles, such as users, providers. Previous work pointed out that max-min fairness (MMF) is a better metric to support weak providers. However, when considering MMF, the features or parameters of these roles vary over time, how to ensure long-term provider MMF has become a significant challenge. We observed that recommendation feedback loops (named RFL) will influence the provider MMF greatly in the long term. RFL means that recommender system can only receive feedback on exposed items from users and update recommender models incrementally based on this feedback. When utilizing the feedback, the recommender model will regard unexposed item as negative. In this way, tail provider will not get the opportunity to be exposed, and its items will always be considered as negative samples. Such phenomenons will become more and more serious in RFL. To alleviate the problem, this paper proposes an online ranking model named Long-Term Provider Max-min Fairness (named LTP-MMF). Theoretical analysis shows that the long-term regret of LTP-MMF enjoys a sub-linear bound. Experimental results on three public recommendation benchmarks demonstrated that LTP-MMF can outperform the baselines in the long term.
The research field of Information Retrieval (IR) has evolved significantly, expanding beyond traditional search to meet diverse user information needs. Recently, Large Language Models (LLMs) have demonstrated exceptional capabilities in text understanding, generation, and knowledge inference, opening up exciting avenues for IR research. LLMs not only facilitate generative retrieval but also offer improved solutions for user understanding, model evaluation, and user-system interactions. More importantly, the synergistic relationship among IR models, LLMs, and humans forms a new technical paradigm that is more powerful for information seeking. IR models provide real-time and relevant information, LLMs contribute internal knowledge, and humans play a central role of demanders and evaluators to the reliability of information services. Nevertheless, significant challenges exist, including computational costs, credibility concerns, domain-specific limitations, and ethical considerations. To thoroughly discuss the transformative impact of LLMs on IR research, the Chinese IR community conducted a strategic workshop in April 2023, yielding valuable insights. This paper provides a summary of the workshop's outcomes, including the rethinking of IR's core values, the mutual enhancement of LLMs and IR, the proposal of a novel IR technical paradigm, and open challenges.
4D scans of dynamic deformable human body parts help researchers have a better understanding of spatiotemporal features. However, reconstructing 4D scans based on multiple asynchronous cameras encounters two main challenges: 1) finding the dynamic correspondences among different frames captured by each camera at the timestamps of the camera in terms of dynamic feature recognition, and 2) reconstructing 3D shapes from the combined point clouds captured by different cameras at asynchronous timestamps in terms of multi-view fusion. In this paper, we introduce a generic framework that is able to 1) find and align dynamic features in the 3D scans captured by each camera using the nonrigid iterative closest-farthest points algorithm; 2) synchronize scans captured by asynchronous cameras through a novel ADGC-LSTM-based network, which is capable of aligning 3D scans captured by different cameras to the timeline of a specific camera; and 3) register a high-quality template to synchronized scans at each timestamp to form a high-quality 3D mesh model using a non-rigid registration method. With a newly developed 4D foot scanner, we validate the framework and create the first open-access data-set, namely the 4D feet. It includes 4D shapes (15 fps) of the right and left feet of 58 participants (116 feet in total, including 5147 3D frames), covering significant phases of the gait cycle. The results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework, especially in synchronizing asynchronous 4D scans using the proposed ADGC-LSTM network.
The display devices like HDR10 televisions are increasingly prevalent in our daily life for visualizing high dynamic range (HDR) images. But the majority of media images on the internet remain in 8-bit standard dynamic range (SDR) format. Therefore, converting SDR images to HDR ones by inverse tone mapping (ITM) is crucial to unlock the full potential of abundant media images. However, existing ITM methods are usually developed with complex network architectures requiring huge computational costs. In this paper, we propose a lightweight Improved Residual Network (IRNet) by enhancing the power of popular residual block for efficient ITM. Specifically, we propose a new Improved Residual Block (IRB) to extract and fuse multi-layer features for fine-grained HDR image reconstruction. Experiments on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that our IRNet achieves state-of-the-art performance on both the ITM and joint SR-ITM tasks. The code, models and data will be publicly available at https://github.com/ThisisVikki/ITM-baseline.
The confluence of Search and Recommendation (S&R) services is vital to online services, including e-commerce and video platforms. The integration of S&R modeling is a highly intuitive approach adopted by industry practitioners. However, there is a noticeable lack of research conducted in this area within academia, primarily due to the absence of publicly available datasets. Consequently, a substantial gap has emerged between academia and industry regarding research endeavors in joint optimization using user behavior data from both S&R services. To bridge this gap, we introduce the first large-scale, real-world dataset KuaiSAR of integrated Search And Recommendation behaviors collected from Kuaishou, a leading short-video app in China with over 350 million daily active users. Previous research in this field has predominantly employed publicly available semi-synthetic datasets and simulated, with artificially fabricated search behaviors. Distinct from previous datasets, KuaiSAR contains genuine user behaviors, including the occurrence of each interaction within either search or recommendation service, and the users' transitions between the two services. This work aids in joint modeling of S&R, and utilizing search data for recommender systems (and recommendation data for search engines). Furthermore, due to the various feedback labels associated with user-video interactions, KuaiSAR also supports a broad range of tasks, including intent recommendation, multi-task learning, and modeling of long sequential multi-behavioral patterns. We believe this dataset will serve as a catalyst for innovative research and bridge the gap between academia and industry in understanding the S&R services in practical, real-world applications.
Multi-stage ranking pipelines have become widely used strategies in modern recommender systems, where the final stage aims to return a ranked list of items that balances a number of requirements such as user preference, diversity, novelty etc. Linear scalarization is arguably the most widely used technique to merge multiple requirements into one optimization objective, by summing up the requirements with certain preference weights. Existing final-stage ranking methods often adopt a static model where the preference weights are determined during offline training and kept unchanged during online serving. Whenever a modification of the preference weights is needed, the model has to be re-trained, which is time and resources inefficient. Meanwhile, the most appropriate weights may vary greatly for different groups of targeting users or at different time periods (e.g., during holiday promotions). In this paper, we propose a framework called controllable multi-objective re-ranking (CMR) which incorporates a hypernetwork to generate parameters for a re-ranking model according to different preference weights. In this way, CMR is enabled to adapt the preference weights according to the environment changes in an online manner, without retraining the models. Moreover, we classify practical business-oriented tasks into four main categories and seamlessly incorporate them in a new proposed re-ranking model based on an Actor-Evaluator framework, which serves as a reliable real-world testbed for CMR. Offline experiments based on the dataset collected from Taobao App showed that CMR improved several popular re-ranking models by using them as underlying models. Online A/B tests also demonstrated the effectiveness and trustworthiness of CMR.