Federated recommender systems (FedRecs) have gained significant attention for their potential to protect user's privacy by keeping user privacy data locally and only communicating model parameters/gradients to the server. Nevertheless, the currently existing architecture of FedRecs assumes that all users have the same 0-privacy budget, i.e., they do not upload any data to the server, thus overlooking those users who are less concerned about privacy and are willing to upload data to get a better recommendation service. To bridge this gap, this paper explores a user-governed data contribution federated recommendation architecture where users are free to take control of whether they share data and the proportion of data they share to the server. To this end, this paper presents a cloud-device collaborative graph neural network federated recommendation model, named CDCGNNFed. It trains user-centric ego graphs locally, and high-order graphs based on user-shared data in the server in a collaborative manner via contrastive learning. Furthermore, a graph mending strategy is utilized to predict missing links in the graph on the server, thus leveraging the capabilities of graph neural networks over high-order graphs. Extensive experiments were conducted on two public datasets, and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method.
In Location-based Social Networks, Point-of-Interest (POI) recommendation helps users discover interesting places. There is a trend to move from the cloud-based model to on-device recommendations for privacy protection and reduced server reliance. Due to the scarcity of local user-item interactions on individual devices, solely relying on local instances is not adequate. Collaborative Learning (CL) emerges to promote model sharing among users, where reference data is an intermediary that allows users to exchange their soft decisions without directly sharing their private data or parameters, ensuring privacy and benefiting from collaboration. However, existing CL-based recommendations typically use a single reference for all users. Reference data valuable for one user might be harmful to another, given diverse user preferences. Users may not offer meaningful soft decisions on items outside their interest scope. Consequently, using the same reference data for all collaborations can impede knowledge exchange and lead to sub-optimal performance. To address this gap, we introduce the Decentralized Collaborative Learning with Adaptive Reference Data (DARD) framework, which crafts adaptive reference data for effective user collaboration. It first generates a desensitized public reference data pool with transformation and probability data generation methods. For each user, the selection of adaptive reference data is executed in parallel by training loss tracking and influence function. Local models are trained with individual private data and collaboratively with the geographical and semantic neighbors. During the collaboration between two users, they exchange soft decisions based on a combined set of their adaptive reference data. Our evaluations across two real-world datasets highlight DARD's superiority in recommendation performance and addressing the scarcity of available reference data.
Recommender systems have been widely deployed in various real-world applications to help users identify content of interest from massive amounts of information. Traditional recommender systems work by collecting user-item interaction data in a cloud-based data center and training a centralized model to perform the recommendation service. However, such cloud-based recommender systems (CloudRSs) inevitably suffer from excessive resource consumption, response latency, as well as privacy and security risks concerning both data and models. Recently, driven by the advances in storage, communication, and computation capabilities of edge devices, there has been a shift of focus from CloudRSs to on-device recommender systems (DeviceRSs), which leverage the capabilities of edge devices to minimize centralized data storage requirements, reduce the response latency caused by communication overheads, and enhance user privacy and security by localizing data processing and model training. Despite the rapid rise of DeviceRSs, there is a clear absence of timely literature reviews that systematically introduce, categorize and contrast these methods. To bridge this gap, we aim to provide a comprehensive survey of DeviceRSs, covering three main aspects: (1) the deployment and inference of DeviceRSs (2) the training and update of DeviceRSs (3) the security and privacy of DeviceRSs. Furthermore, we provide a fine-grained and systematic taxonomy of the methods involved in each aspect, followed by a discussion regarding challenges and future research directions. This is the first comprehensive survey on DeviceRSs that covers a spectrum of tasks to fit various needs. We believe this survey will help readers effectively grasp the current research status in this field, equip them with relevant technical foundations, and stimulate new research ideas for developing DeviceRSs.
Given the sheer volume of contemporary e-commerce applications, recommender systems (RSs) have gained significant attention in both academia and industry. However, traditional cloud-based RSs face inevitable challenges, such as resource-intensive computation, reliance on network access, and privacy breaches. In response, a new paradigm called on-device recommender systems (ODRSs) has emerged recently in various industries like Taobao, Google, and Kuaishou. ODRSs unleash the computational capacity of user devices with lightweight recommendation models tailored for resource-constrained environments, enabling real-time inference with users' local data. This tutorial aims to systematically introduce methodologies of ODRSs, including (1) an overview of existing research on ODRSs; (2) a comprehensive taxonomy of ODRSs, where the core technical content to be covered span across three major ODRS research directions, including on-device deployment and inference, on-device training, and privacy/security of ODRSs; (3) limitations and future directions of ODRSs. This tutorial expects to lay the foundation and spark new insights for follow-up research and applications concerning this new recommendation paradigm.
* Technical tutorial; to appear at The Web Conference 2024
With the growing concerns regarding user data privacy, Federated Recommender System (FedRec) has garnered significant attention recently due to its privacy-preserving capabilities. Existing FedRecs generally adhere to a learning protocol in which a central server shares a global recommendation model with clients, and participants achieve collaborative learning by frequently communicating the model's public parameters. Nevertheless, this learning framework has two drawbacks that limit its practical usability: (1) It necessitates a global-sharing recommendation model; however, in real-world scenarios, information related to the recommender model, including its algorithm and parameters, constitutes the platforms' intellectual property. Hence, service providers are unlikely to release such information actively. (2) The communication costs of model parameter transmission are expensive since the model parameters are usually high-dimensional matrices. With the model size increasing, the communication burden will be the bottleneck for such traditional FedRecs. Given the above limitations, this paper introduces a novel parameter transmission-free federated recommendation framework that balances the protection between users' data privacy and platforms' model privacy, namely PTF-FedRec. Specifically, participants in PTF-FedRec collaboratively exchange knowledge by sharing their predictions within a privacy-preserving mechanism. Through this way, the central server can learn a recommender model without disclosing its model parameters or accessing clients' raw data, preserving both the server's model privacy and users' data privacy. Besides, since clients and the central server only need to communicate prediction scores which are just a few real numbers, the overhead is significantly reduced compared to traditional FedRecs.
Owing to the nature of privacy protection, federated recommender systems (FedRecs) have garnered increasing interest in the realm of on-device recommender systems. However, most existing FedRecs only allow participating clients to collaboratively train a recommendation model of the same public parameter size. Training a model of the same size for all clients can lead to suboptimal performance since clients possess varying resources. For example, clients with limited training data may prefer to train a smaller recommendation model to avoid excessive data consumption, while clients with sufficient data would benefit from a larger model to achieve higher recommendation accuracy. To address the above challenge, this paper introduces HeteFedRec, a novel FedRec framework that enables the assignment of personalized model sizes to participants. In HeteFedRec, we present a heterogeneous recommendation model aggregation strategy, including a unified dual-task learning mechanism and a dimensional decorrelation regularization, to allow knowledge aggregation among recommender models of different sizes. Additionally, a relation-based ensemble knowledge distillation method is proposed to effectively distil knowledge from heterogeneous item embeddings. Extensive experiments conducted on three real-world recommendation datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of HeteFedRec in training federated recommender systems under heterogeneous settings.
To address privacy concerns and reduce network latency, there has been a recent trend of compressing cumbersome recommendation models trained on the cloud and deploying compact recommender models to resource-limited devices for real-time recommendation. Existing solutions generally overlook device heterogeneity and user heterogeneity. They either require all devices to share the same compressed model or the devices with the same resource budget to share the same model. However, even users with the same devices may have different preferences. In addition, they assume the available resources (e.g., memory) for the recommender on a device are constant, which is not reflective of reality. In light of device and user heterogeneities as well as dynamic resource constraints, this paper proposes a Personalized Elastic Embedding Learning framework (PEEL) for on-device recommendation, which generates personalized embeddings for devices with various memory budgets in once-for-all manner, efficiently adapting to new or dynamic budgets, and effectively addressing user preference diversity by assigning personalized embeddings for different groups of users. Specifically, it pretrains using user-item interaction instances to generate the global embedding table and cluster users into groups. Then, it refines the embedding tables with local interaction instances within each group. Personalized elastic embedding is generated from the group-wise embedding blocks and their weights that indicate the contribution of each embedding block to the local recommendation performance. PEEL efficiently generates personalized elastic embeddings by selecting embedding blocks with the largest weights, making it adaptable to dynamic memory budgets. Extensive experiments are conducted on two public datasets, and the results show that PEEL yields superior performance on devices with heterogeneous and dynamic memory budgets.
Collaborative filtering (CF) based recommender systems are typically trained based on personal interaction data (e.g., clicks and purchases) that could be naturally represented as ego graphs. However, most existing recommendation methods collect these ego graphs from all users to compose a global graph to obtain high-order collaborative information between users and items, and these centralized CF recommendation methods inevitably lead to a high risk of user privacy leakage. Although recently proposed federated recommendation systems can mitigate the privacy problem, they either restrict the on-device local training to an isolated ego graph or rely on an additional third-party server to access other ego graphs resulting in a cumbersome pipeline, which is hard to work in practice. In addition, existing federated recommendation systems require resource-limited devices to maintain the entire embedding tables resulting in high communication costs. In light of this, we propose a semi-decentralized federated ego graph learning framework for on-device recommendations, named SemiDFEGL, which introduces new device-to-device collaborations to improve scalability and reduce communication costs and innovatively utilizes predicted interacted item nodes to connect isolated ego graphs to augment local subgraphs such that the high-order user-item collaborative information could be used in a privacy-preserving manner. Furthermore, the proposed framework is model-agnostic, meaning that it could be seamlessly integrated with existing graph neural network-based recommendation methods and privacy protection techniques. To validate the effectiveness of the proposed SemiDFEGL, extensive experiments are conducted on three public datasets, and the results demonstrate the superiority of the proposed SemiDFEGL compared to other federated recommendation methods.
As a crucial component of most modern deep recommender systems, feature embedding maps high-dimensional sparse user/item features into low-dimensional dense embeddings. However, these embeddings are usually assigned a unified dimension, which suffers from the following issues: (1) high memory usage and computation cost. (2) sub-optimal performance due to inferior dimension assignments. In order to alleviate the above issues, some works focus on automated embedding dimension search by formulating it as hyper-parameter optimization or embedding pruning problems. However, they either require well-designed search space for hyperparameters or need time-consuming optimization procedures. In this paper, we propose a Single-Shot Embedding Dimension Search method, called SSEDS, which can efficiently assign dimensions for each feature field via a single-shot embedding pruning operation while maintaining the recommendation accuracy of the model. Specifically, it introduces a criterion for identifying the importance of each embedding dimension for each feature field. As a result, SSEDS could automatically obtain mixed-dimensional embeddings by explicitly reducing redundant embedding dimensions based on the corresponding dimension importance ranking and the predefined parameter budget. Furthermore, the proposed SSEDS is model-agnostic, meaning that it could be integrated into different base recommendation models. The extensive offline experiments are conducted on two widely used public datasets for CTR prediction tasks, and the results demonstrate that SSEDS can still achieve strong recommendation performance even if it has reduced 90\% parameters. Moreover, SSEDS has also been deployed on the WeChat Subscription platform for practical recommendation services. The 7-day online A/B test results show that SSEDS can significantly improve the performance of the online recommendation model.