Recently, large language models (LLMs) have shown great potential in recommender systems, either improving existing recommendation models or serving as the backbone. However, there exists a large semantic gap between LLMs and recommender systems, since items to be recommended are often indexed by discrete identifiers (item ID) out of the LLM's vocabulary. In essence, LLMs capture language semantics while recommender systems imply collaborative semantics, making it difficult to sufficiently leverage the model capacity of LLMs for recommendation. To address this challenge, in this paper, we propose a new LLM-based recommendation model called LC-Rec, which can better integrate language and collaborative semantics for recommender systems. Our approach can directly generate items from the entire item set for recommendation, without relying on candidate items. Specifically, we make two major contributions in our approach. For item indexing, we design a learning-based vector quantization method with uniform semantic mapping, which can assign meaningful and non-conflicting IDs (called item indices) for items. For alignment tuning, we propose a series of specially designed tuning tasks to enhance the integration of collaborative semantics in LLMs. Our fine-tuning tasks enforce LLMs to deeply integrate language and collaborative semantics (characterized by the learned item indices), so as to achieve an effective adaptation to recommender systems. Extensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our method, showing that our approach can outperform a number of competitive baselines including traditional recommenders and existing LLM-based recommenders. Our code is available at https://github.com/RUCAIBox/LC-Rec/.
Bundle recommendation seeks to recommend a bundle of related items to users to improve both user experience and the profits of platform. Existing bundle recommendation models have progressed from capturing only user-bundle interactions to the modeling of multiple relations among users, bundles and items. CrossCBR, in particular, incorporates cross-view contrastive learning into a two-view preference learning framework, significantly improving SOTA performance. It does, however, have two limitations: 1) the two-view formulation does not fully exploit all the heterogeneous relations among users, bundles and items; and 2) the "early contrast and late fusion" framework is less effective in capturing user preference and difficult to generalize to multiple views. In this paper, we present MultiCBR, a novel Multi-view Contrastive learning framework for Bundle Recommendation. First, we devise a multi-view representation learning framework capable of capturing all the user-bundle, user-item and bundle-item relations, especially better utilizing the bundle-item affiliations to enhance sparse bundles' representations. Second, we innovatively adopt an "early fusion and late contrast" design that first fuses the multi-view representations before performing self-supervised contrastive learning. In comparison to existing approaches, our framework reverses the order of fusion and contrast, introducing the following advantages: 1)our framework is capable of modeling both cross-view and ego-view preferences, allowing us to achieve enhanced user preference modeling; and 2) instead of requiring quadratic number of cross-view contrastive losses, we only require two self-supervised contrastive losses, resulting in minimal extra costs. Experimental results on three public datasets indicate that our method outperforms SOTA methods.
Simulators can provide valuable insights for researchers and practitioners who wish to improve recommender systems, because they allow one to easily tweak the experimental setup in which recommender systems operate, and as a result lower the cost of identifying general trends and uncovering novel findings about the candidate methods. A key requirement to enable this accelerated improvement cycle is that the simulator is able to span the various sources of complexity that can be found in the real recommendation environment that it simulates. With the emergence of interactive and data-driven methods - e.g., reinforcement learning or online and counterfactual learning-to-rank - that aim to achieve user-related goals beyond the traditional accuracy-centric objectives, adequate simulators are needed. In particular, such simulators must model the various mechanisms that render the recommendation environment dynamic and interactive, e.g., the effect of recommendations on the user or the effect of biased data on subsequent iterations of the recommender system. We therefore propose SARDINE, a flexible and interpretable recommendation simulator that can help accelerate research in interactive and data-driven recommender systems. We demonstrate its usefulness by studying existing methods within nine diverse environments derived from SARDINE, and even uncover novel insights about them.
Bundle recommendation approaches offer users a set of related items on a particular topic. The current state-of-the-art (SOTA) method utilizes contrastive learning to learn representations at both the bundle and item levels. However, due to the inherent difference between the bundle-level and item-level preferences, the item-level representations may not receive sufficient information from the bundle affiliations to make accurate predictions. In this paper, we propose a novel approach EBRec, short of Enhanced Bundle Recommendation, which incorporates two enhanced modules to explore inherent item-level bundle representations. First, we propose to incorporate the bundle-user-item (B-U-I) high-order correlations to explore more collaborative information, thus to enhance the previous bundle representation that solely relies on the bundle-item affiliation information. Second, we further enhance the B-U-I correlations by augmenting the observed user-item interactions with interactions generated from pre-trained models, thus improving the item-level bundle representations. We conduct extensive experiments on three public datasets, and the results justify the effectiveness of our approach as well as the two core modules. Codes and datasets are available at https://github.com/answermycode/EBRec.
The successful integration of large language models (LLMs) into recommendation systems has proven to be a major breakthrough in recent studies, paving the way for more generic and transferable recommendations. However, LLMs struggle to effectively utilize user and item IDs, which are crucial identifiers for successful recommendations. This is mainly due to their distinct representation in a semantic space that is different from the natural language (NL) typically used to train LLMs. To tackle such issue, we introduce ControlRec, an innovative Contrastive prompt learning framework for Recommendation systems. ControlRec treats user IDs and NL as heterogeneous features and encodes them individually. To promote greater alignment and integration between them in the semantic space, we have devised two auxiliary contrastive objectives: (1) Heterogeneous Feature Matching (HFM) aligning item description with the corresponding ID or user's next preferred ID based on their interaction sequence, and (2) Instruction Contrastive Learning (ICL) effectively merging these two crucial data sources by contrasting probability distributions of output sequences generated by diverse tasks. Experimental results on four public real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method on improving model performance.
Tour itinerary recommendation involves planning a sequence of relevant Point-of-Interest (POIs), which combines challenges from the fields of both Operations Research (OR) and Recommendation Systems (RS). As an OR problem, there is the need to maximize a certain utility (e.g., popularity of POIs in the tour) while adhering to some constraints (e.g., maximum time for the tour). As a RS problem, it is heavily related to problem or filtering or ranking a subset of POIs that are relevant to a user and recommending it as part of an itinerary. In this paper, we explore the use of language models for the task of tour itinerary recommendation and planning. This task has the unique requirement of recommending personalized POIs relevant to users and planning these POIs as an itinerary that satisfies various constraints. We discuss some approaches in this area, such as using word embedding techniques like Word2Vec and GloVe for learning POI embeddings and transformer-based techniques like BERT for generating itineraries.
The growth of e-commerce has seen a surge in popularity of platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Taobao. This has given rise to a unique shopping behavior involving baskets - sets of items purchased together. As a less studied interaction mode in the community, the question of how should shopping basket complement personalized recommendation systems remains under-explored. While previous attempts focused on jointly modeling user purchases and baskets, the distinct semantic nature of these elements can introduce noise when directly integrated. This noise negatively impacts the model's performance, further exacerbated by significant noise within both user and basket behaviors. In order to cope with the above difficulties, we propose a novel Basket recommendation framework via Noise-tolerated Contrastive Learning, named BNCL, to handle the noise existing in the cross-behavior integration and within-behavior modeling. First, we represent the basket-item interactions as the hypergraph to model the complex basket behavior, where all items appearing in the same basket are treated as a single hyperedge. Second, cross-behavior contrastive learning is designed to suppress the noise during the fusion of diverse behaviors. Next, to further inhibit the within-behavior noise of the user and basket interactions, we propose to exploit invariant properties of the recommenders w.r.t augmentations through within-behavior contrastive learning. A novel consistency-aware augmentation approach is further designed to better identify noisy interactions with the consideration of the above two types of interactions. Our framework BNCL offers a generic training paradigm that is applicable to different backbones. Extensive experiments on three shopping transaction datasets verify the effectiveness of our proposed method. Our code is available.
Recommending suitable items to a group of users, commonly referred to as the group recommendation task, is becoming increasingly urgent with the development of group activities. The challenges within the group recommendation task involve aggregating the individual preferences of group members as the group's preferences and facing serious sparsity problems due to the lack of user/group-item interactions. To solve these problems, we propose a novel approach called Dependency Relationships-Enhanced Attentive Group Recommendation (DREAGR) for the recommendation task of occasional groups. Specifically, we introduce the dependency relationship between items as side information to enhance the user/group-item interaction and alleviate the interaction sparsity problem. Then, we propose a Path-Aware Attention Embedding (PAAE) method to model users' preferences on different types of paths. Next, we design a gated fusion mechanism to fuse users' preferences into their comprehensive preferences. Finally, we develop an attention aggregator that aggregates users' preferences as the group's preferences for the group recommendation task. We conducted experiments on two datasets to demonstrate the superiority of DREAGR by comparing it with state-of-the-art group recommender models. The experimental results show that DREAGR outperforms other models, especially HR@N and NDCG@N (N=5, 10), where DREAGR has improved in the range of 3.64% to 7.01% and 2.57% to 3.39% on both datasets, respectively.
Two-tower models are a prevalent matching framework for recommendation, which have been widely deployed in industrial applications. The success of two-tower matching attributes to its efficiency in retrieval among a large number of items, since the item tower can be precomputed and used for fast Approximate Nearest Neighbor (ANN) search. However, it suffers two main challenges, including limited feature interaction capability and reduced accuracy in online serving. Existing approaches attempt to design novel late interactions instead of dot products, but they still fail to support complex feature interactions or lose retrieval efficiency. To address these challenges, we propose a new matching paradigm named SparCode, which supports not only sophisticated feature interactions but also efficient retrieval. Specifically, SparCode introduces an all-to-all interaction module to model fine-grained query-item interactions. Besides, we design a discrete code-based sparse inverted index jointly trained with the model to achieve effective and efficient model inference. Extensive experiments have been conducted on open benchmark datasets to demonstrate the superiority of our framework. The results show that SparCode significantly improves the accuracy of candidate item matching while retaining the same level of retrieval efficiency with two-tower models. Our source code will be available at MindSpore/models.
Scaling of neural networks has recently shown great potential to improve the model capacity in various fields. Specifically, model performance has a power-law relationship with model size or data size, which provides important guidance for the development of large-scale models. However, there is still limited understanding on the scaling effect of user behavior models in recommender systems, where the unique data characteristics (e.g. data scarcity and sparsity) pose new challenges to explore the scaling effect in recommendation tasks. In this work, we focus on investigating the scaling laws in large sequential recommendation models. Specially, we consider a pure ID-based task formulation, where the interaction history of a user is formatted as a chronological sequence of item IDs. We don't incorporate any side information (e.g. item text), because we would like to explore how scaling law holds from the perspective of user behavior. With specially improved strategies, we scale up the model size to 0.8B parameters, making it feasible to explore the scaling effect in a diverse range of model sizes. As the major findings, we empirically show that scaling law still holds for these trained models, even in data-constrained scenarios. We then fit the curve for scaling law, and successfully predict the test loss of the two largest tested model scales. Furthermore, we examine the performance advantage of scaling effect on five challenging recommendation tasks, considering the unique issues (e.g. cold start, robustness, long-term preference) in recommender systems. We find that scaling up the model size can greatly boost the performance on these challenging tasks, which again verifies the benefits of large recommendation models.