Sequential recommendation (SRS) has become the technical foundation in many applications recently, which aims to recommend the next item based on the user's historical interactions. However, sequential recommendation often faces the problem of data sparsity, which widely exists in recommender systems. Besides, most users only interact with a few items, but existing SRS models often underperform these users. Such a problem, named the long-tail user problem, is still to be resolved. Data augmentation is a distinct way to alleviate these two problems, but they often need fabricated training strategies or are hindered by poor-quality generated interactions. To address these problems, we propose a Diffusion Augmentation for Sequential Recommendation (DiffuASR) for a higher quality generation. The augmented dataset by DiffuASR can be used to train the sequential recommendation models directly, free from complex training procedures. To make the best of the generation ability of the diffusion model, we first propose a diffusion-based pseudo sequence generation framework to fill the gap between image and sequence generation. Then, a sequential U-Net is designed to adapt the diffusion noise prediction model U-Net to the discrete sequence generation task. At last, we develop two guide strategies to assimilate the preference between generated and origin sequences. To validate the proposed DiffuASR, we conduct extensive experiments on three real-world datasets with three sequential recommendation models. The experimental results illustrate the effectiveness of DiffuASR. As far as we know, DiffuASR is one pioneer that introduce the diffusion model to the recommendation.
In this paper, we study the effect of popularity degradation bias in the context of local music recommendations. Specifically, we examine how accurate two top-performing recommendation algorithms, Weight Relevance Matrix Factorization (WRMF) and Multinomial Variational Autoencoder (Mult-VAE), are at recommending artists as a function of artist popularity. We find that both algorithms improve recommendation performance for more popular artists and, as such, exhibit popularity degradation bias. While both algorithms produce a similar level of performance for more popular artists, Mult-VAE shows better relative performance for less popular artists. This suggests that this algorithm should be preferred for local (long-tail) music artist recommendation.
Music streaming services heavily rely on their recommendation engines to continuously provide content to their consumers. Sequential recommendation consequently has seen considerable attention in current literature, where state of the art approaches focus on self-attentive models leveraging contextual information such as long and short-term user history and item features; however, most of these studies focus on long-form content domains (retail, movie, etc.) rather than short-form, such as music. Additionally, many do not explore incorporating negative session-level feedback during training. In this study, we investigate the use of transformer-based self-attentive architectures to learn implicit session-level information for sequential music recommendation. We additionally propose a contrastive learning task to incorporate negative feedback (e.g skipped tracks) to promote positive hits and penalize negative hits. This task is formulated as a simple loss term that can be incorporated into a variety of deep learning architectures for sequential recommendation. Our experiments show that this results in consistent performance gains over the baseline architectures ignoring negative user feedback.
Learning a recommender system model from an item's raw modality features (such as image, text, audio, etc.), called MoRec, has attracted growing interest recently. One key advantage of MoRec is that it can easily benefit from advances in other fields, such as natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision (CV). Moreover, it naturally supports transfer learning across different systems through modality features, known as transferable recommender systems, or TransRec. However, so far, TransRec has made little progress, compared to groundbreaking foundation models in the fields of NLP and CV. The lack of large-scale, high-quality recommendation datasets poses a major obstacle. To this end, we introduce NineRec, a TransRec dataset suite that includes a large-scale source domain recommendation dataset and nine diverse target domain recommendation datasets. Each item in NineRec is represented by a text description and a high-resolution cover image. With NineRec, we can implement TransRec models in an end-to-end training manner instead of using pre-extracted invariant features. We conduct a benchmark study and empirical analysis of TransRec using NineRec, and our findings provide several valuable insights. To support further research, we make our code, datasets, benchmarks, and leaderboards publicly available at https://github.com/westlake-repl/NineRec.
Sequential recommendation problems have received increasing attention in research during the past few years, leading to the inception of a large variety of algorithmic approaches. In this work, we explore how large language models (LLMs), which are nowadays introducing disruptive effects in many AI-based applications, can be used to build or improve sequential recommendation approaches. Specifically, we devise and evaluate three approaches to leverage the power of LLMs in different ways. Our results from experiments on two datasets show that initializing the state-of-the-art sequential recommendation model BERT4Rec with embeddings obtained from an LLM improves NDCG by 15-20% compared to the vanilla BERT4Rec model. Furthermore, we find that a simple approach that leverages LLM embeddings for producing recommendations, can provide competitive performance by highlighting semantically related items. We publicly share the code and data of our experiments to ensure reproducibility.
Cross-domain Sequential Recommendation (CSR) which leverages user sequence data from multiple domains has received extensive attention in recent years. However, the existing CSR methods require sharing origin user data across domains, which violates the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Thus, it is necessary to combine federated learning (FL) and CSR to fully utilize knowledge from different domains while preserving data privacy. Nonetheless, the sequence feature heterogeneity across different domains significantly impacts the overall performance of FL. In this paper, we propose FedDCSR, a novel federated cross-domain sequential recommendation framework via disentangled representation learning. Specifically, to address the sequence feature heterogeneity across domains, we introduce an approach called inter-intra domain sequence representation disentanglement (SRD) to disentangle the user sequence features into domain-shared and domain-exclusive features. In addition, we design an intra domain contrastive infomax (CIM) strategy to learn richer domain-exclusive features of users by performing data augmentation on user sequences. Extensive experiments on three real-world scenarios demonstrate that FedDCSR achieves significant improvements over existing baselines.
Online recommender systems (RS) aim to match user needs with the vast amount of resources available on various platforms. A key challenge is to model user preferences accurately under the condition of data sparsity. To address this challenge, some methods have leveraged external user behavior data from multiple platforms to enrich user representation. However, all of these methods require a consistent user ID across platforms and ignore the information from similar users. In this study, we propose RUEL, a novel retrieval-based sequential recommender that can effectively incorporate external anonymous user behavior data from Edge browser logs to enhance recommendation. We first collect and preprocess a large volume of Edge browser logs over a one-year period and link them to target entities that correspond to candidate items in recommendation datasets. We then design a contrastive learning framework with a momentum encoder and a memory bank to retrieve the most relevant and diverse browsing sequences from the full browsing log based on the semantic similarity between user representations. After retrieval, we apply an item-level attentive selector to filter out noisy items and generate refined sequence embeddings for the final predictor. RUEL is the first method that connects user browsing data with typical recommendation datasets and can be generalized to various recommendation scenarios and datasets. We conduct extensive experiments on four real datasets for sequential recommendation tasks and demonstrate that RUEL significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines. We also conduct ablation studies and qualitative analysis to validate the effectiveness of each component of RUEL and provide additional insights into our method.
A recommendation system assists users in finding items that are relevant to them. Existing recommendation models are primarily based on predicting relationships between users and items and use complex matching models or incorporate extensive external information to capture association patterns in data. However, recommendation is not only a problem of inductive statistics using data; it is also a cognitive task of reasoning decisions based on knowledge extracted from information. Hence, a logic system could naturally be incorporated for the reasoning in a recommendation task. However, although hard-rule approaches based on logic systems can provide powerful reasoning ability, they struggle to cope with inconsistent and incomplete knowledge in real-world tasks, especially for complex tasks such as recommendation. Therefore, in this paper, we propose a neuro-symbolic recommendation model, which transforms the user history interactions into a logic expression and then transforms the recommendation prediction into a query task based on this logic expression. The logic expressions are then computed based on the modular logic operations of the neural network. We also construct an implicit logic encoder to reasonably reduce the complexity of the logic computation. Finally, a user's interest items can be queried in the vector space based on the computation results. Experiments on three well-known datasets verified that our method performs better compared to state of the art shallow, deep, session, and reasoning models.
Recommender systems are essential for online applications, and sequential recommendation has enjoyed significant prevalence due to its expressive ability to capture dynamic user interests. However, previous sequential modeling methods still have limitations in capturing contextual information. The primary reason for this issue is that language models often lack an understanding of domain-specific knowledge and item-related textual content. To address this issue, we adopt a new sequential recommendation paradigm and propose LANCER, which leverages the semantic understanding capabilities of pre-trained language models to generate personalized recommendations. Our approach bridges the gap between language models and recommender systems, resulting in more human-like recommendations. We demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach through experiments on several benchmark datasets, showing promising results and providing valuable insights into the influence of our model on sequential recommendation tasks. Furthermore, our experimental codes are publicly available.
Learning effective recommendation models from sparse user interactions represents a fundamental challenge in developing sequential recommendation methods. Recently, pre-training-based methods have been developed to tackle this challenge. Though promising, in this paper, we show that existing methods suffer from the notorious negative transfer issue, where the model adapted from the pre-trained model results in worse performance compared to the model learned from scratch in the task of interest (i.e., target task). To address this issue, we develop a method, denoted as ANT, for transferable sequential recommendation. ANT mitigates negative transfer by 1) incorporating multi-modality item information, including item texts, images and prices, to effectively learn more transferable knowledge from related tasks (i.e., auxiliary tasks); and 2) better capturing task-specific knowledge in the target task using a re-learning-based adaptation strategy. We evaluate ANT against eight state-of-the-art baseline methods on five target tasks. Our experimental results demonstrate that ANT does not suffer from the negative transfer issue on any of the target tasks. The results also demonstrate that ANT substantially outperforms baseline methods in the target tasks with an improvement of as much as 15.2%. Our analysis highlights the superior effectiveness of our re-learning-based strategy compared to fine-tuning on the target tasks.