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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Recommendation Unlearning

Jan 18, 2022
Chong Chen, Fei Sun, Min Zhang, Bolin Ding

Recommender systems provide essential web services by learning users' personal preferences from collected data. However, in many cases, systems also need to forget some training data. From the perspective of privacy, several privacy regulations have recently been proposed, requiring systems to eliminate any impact of the data whose owner requests to forget. From the perspective of utility, if a system's utility is damaged by some bad data, the system needs to forget these data to regain utility. From the perspective of usability, users can delete noise and incorrect entries so that a system can provide more useful recommendations. While unlearning is very important, it has not been well-considered in existing recommender systems. Although there are some researches have studied the problem of machine unlearning in the domains of image and text data, existing methods can not been directly applied to recommendation as they are unable to consider the collaborative information. In this paper, we propose RecEraser, a general and efficient machine unlearning framework tailored to recommendation task. The main idea of RecEraser is to partition the training set into multiple shards and train a constituent model for each shard. Specifically, to keep the collaborative information of the data, we first design three novel data partition algorithms to divide training data into balanced groups based on their similarity. Then, considering that different shard models do not uniformly contribute to the final prediction, we further propose an adaptive aggregation method to improve the global model utility. Experimental results on three public benchmarks show that RecEraser can not only achieve efficient unlearning, but also outperform the state-of-the-art unlearning methods in terms of model utility. The source code can be found at

* To appear in TheWebConf 2022 

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Learning to Explain Recommendations

Feb 01, 2021
Lei Li, Yongfeng Zhang, Li Chen

Explaining to users why some items are recommended is critical, as it helps users to make better decisions, increase their satisfaction, and gain their trust in recommender systems (RS). However, existing explainable RS usually consider explanations as side outputs of the recommendation model, which has two problems: (1) it is difficult to evaluate the produced explanations because they are usually model-dependent, and (2) as a result, the possible impacts of those explanations are less investigated. To address the evaluation problem, we propose learning to explain for explainable recommendation. The basic idea is to train a model that selects explanations from a collection as a ranking-oriented task. A great challenge, however, is that the sparsity issue in the user-item-explanation data would be severer than that in traditional user-item relation data, since not every user-item pair can associate with multiple explanations. To mitigate this issue, we propose to perform two sets of matrix factorization by considering the ternary relationship as two groups of binary relationships. To further investigate the impacts of explanations, we extend the traditional item ranking of recommendation to an item-explanation joint-ranking formalization. We study if purposely selecting explanations could achieve certain learning goals, e.g., in this paper, improving the recommendation performance. Experiments on three large datasets verify our solution's effectiveness on both item recommendation and explanation ranking. In addition, our user-item-explanation datasets open up new ways of modeling and evaluating recommendation explanations. To facilitate the development of explainable RS, we will make our datasets and code publicly available.

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Recommendation Fairness: From Static to Dynamic

Sep 13, 2021
Dell Zhang, Jun Wang

Driven by the need to capture users' evolving interests and optimize their long-term experiences, more and more recommender systems have started to model recommendation as a Markov decision process and employ reinforcement learning to address the problem. Shouldn't research on the fairness of recommender systems follow the same trend from static evaluation and one-shot intervention to dynamic monitoring and non-stop control? In this paper, we portray the recent developments in recommender systems first and then discuss how fairness could be baked into the reinforcement learning techniques for recommendation. Moreover, we argue that in order to make further progress in recommendation fairness, we may want to consider multi-agent (game-theoretic) optimization, multi-objective (Pareto) optimization, and simulation-based optimization, in the general framework of stochastic games.

* A position paper for the FAccTRec-2021 workshop. Revised based on the reviewers' feedback. 6 pages 

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Inter-Session Modeling for Session-Based Recommendation

Jun 22, 2017
Massimiliano Ruocco, Ole Steinar Lillestøl Skrede, Helge Langseth

In recent years, research has been done on applying Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) as recommender systems. Results have been promising, especially in the session-based setting where RNNs have been shown to outperform state-of-the-art models. In many of these experiments, the RNN could potentially improve the recommendations by utilizing information about the user's past sessions, in addition to its own interactions in the current session. A problem for session-based recommendation, is how to produce accurate recommendations at the start of a session, before the system has learned much about the user's current interests. We propose a novel approach that extends a RNN recommender to be able to process the user's recent sessions, in order to improve recommendations. This is done by using a second RNN to learn from recent sessions, and predict the user's interest in the current session. By feeding this information to the original RNN, it is able to improve its recommendations. Our experiments on two different datasets show that the proposed approach can significantly improve recommendations throughout the sessions, compared to a single RNN working only on the current session. The proposed model especially improves recommendations at the start of sessions, and is therefore able to deal with the cold start problem within sessions.

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Bias in Knowledge Graphs -- an Empirical Study with Movie Recommendation and Different Language Editions of DBpedia

May 03, 2021
Michael Matthias Voit, Heiko Paulheim

Public knowledge graphs such as DBpedia and Wikidata have been recognized as interesting sources of background knowledge to build content-based recommender systems. They can be used to add information about the items to be recommended and links between those. While quite a few approaches for exploiting knowledge graphs have been proposed, most of them aim at optimizing the recommendation strategy while using a fixed knowledge graph. In this paper, we take a different approach, i.e., we fix the recommendation strategy and observe changes when using different underlying knowledge graphs. Particularly, we use different language editions of DBpedia. We show that the usage of different knowledge graphs does not only lead to differently biased recommender systems, but also to recommender systems that differ in performance for particular fields of recommendations.

* Accepted for publication at 3rd Conference on Language, Data and Knowledge (LDK 2021) 

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Deep Reinforcement Learning for Page-wise Recommendations

Aug 10, 2018
Xiangyu Zhao, Long Xia, Liang Zhang, Zhuoye Ding, Dawei Yin, Jiliang Tang

Recommender systems can mitigate the information overload problem by suggesting users' personalized items. In real-world recommendations such as e-commerce, a typical interaction between the system and its users is -- users are recommended a page of items and provide feedback; and then the system recommends a new page of items. To effectively capture such interaction for recommendations, we need to solve two key problems -- (1) how to update recommending strategy according to user's \textit{real-time feedback}, and 2) how to generate a page of items with proper display, which pose tremendous challenges to traditional recommender systems. In this paper, we study the problem of page-wise recommendations aiming to address aforementioned two challenges simultaneously. In particular, we propose a principled approach to jointly generate a set of complementary items and the corresponding strategy to display them in a 2-D page; and propose a novel page-wise recommendation framework based on deep reinforcement learning, DeepPage, which can optimize a page of items with proper display based on real-time feedback from users. The experimental results based on a real-world e-commerce dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

* arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:1802.06501 

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A Scalable Hybrid Research Paper Recommender System for Microsoft Academic

May 21, 2019
Anshul Kanakia, Zhihong Shen, Darrin Eide, Kuansan Wang

We present the design and methodology for the large scale hybrid paper recommender system used by Microsoft Academic. The system provides recommendations for approximately 160 million English research papers and patents. Our approach handles incomplete citation information while also alleviating the cold-start problem that often affects other recommender systems. We use the Microsoft Academic Graph (MAG), titles, and available abstracts of research papers to build a recommendation list for all documents, thereby combining co-citation and content based approaches. Tuning system parameters also allows for blending and prioritization of each approach which, in turn, allows us to balance paper novelty versus authority in recommendation results. We evaluate the generated recommendations via a user study of 40 participants, with over 2400 recommendation pairs graded and discuss the quality of the results using [email protected] and nDCG scores. We see that there is a strong correlation between participant scores and the similarity rankings produced by our system but that additional focus needs to be put towards improving recommender precision, particularly for content based recommendations. The results of the user survey and associated analysis scripts are made available via GitHub and the recommendations produced by our system are available as part of the MAG on Azure to facilitate further research and light up novel research paper recommendation applications.

* In The World Wide Web Conference (WWW '19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 2893-2899 
* 7 pages, 7 figures. Short paper at The Web Conference 2019, San Francisco, USA 

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Recommendations with Negative Feedback via Pairwise Deep Reinforcement Learning

Aug 10, 2018
Xiangyu Zhao, Liang Zhang, Zhuoye Ding, Long Xia, Jiliang Tang, Dawei Yin

Recommender systems play a crucial role in mitigating the problem of information overload by suggesting users' personalized items or services. The vast majority of traditional recommender systems consider the recommendation procedure as a static process and make recommendations following a fixed strategy. In this paper, we propose a novel recommender system with the capability of continuously improving its strategies during the interactions with users. We model the sequential interactions between users and a recommender system as a Markov Decision Process (MDP) and leverage Reinforcement Learning (RL) to automatically learn the optimal strategies via recommending trial-and-error items and receiving reinforcements of these items from users' feedback. Users' feedback can be positive and negative and both types of feedback have great potentials to boost recommendations. However, the number of negative feedback is much larger than that of positive one; thus incorporating them simultaneously is challenging since positive feedback could be buried by negative one. In this paper, we develop a novel approach to incorporate them into the proposed deep recommender system (DEERS) framework. The experimental results based on real-world e-commerce data demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework. Further experiments have been conducted to understand the importance of both positive and negative feedback in recommendations.

* arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1801.00209 

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Diversification in Session-based News Recommender Systems

Feb 05, 2021
Alireza Gharahighehi, Celine Vens

Recommender systems are widely applied in digital platforms such as news websites to personalize services based on user preferences. In news websites most of users are anonymous and the only available data is sequences of items in anonymous sessions. Due to this, typical collaborative filtering methods, which are highly applied in many applications, are not effective in news recommendations. In this context, session-based recommenders are able to recommend next items given the sequence of previous items in the active session. Neighborhood-based session-based recommenders has been shown to be highly effective compared to more sophisticated approaches. In this study we propose scenarios to make these session-based recommender systems diversity-aware and to address the filter bubble phenomenon. The filter bubble phenomenon is a common concern in news recommendation systems and it occurs when the system narrows the information and deprives users of diverse information. The results of applying the proposed scenarios show that these diversification scenarios improve the diversity measures in these session-based recommender systems based on four news datasets.

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