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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Towards a More Reliable Privacy-preserving Recommender System

Nov 22, 2017
Jia-Yun Jiang, Cheng-Te Li, Shou-De Lin

This paper proposes a privacy-preserving distributed recommendation framework, Secure Distributed Collaborative Filtering (SDCF), to preserve the privacy of value, model and existence altogether. That says, not only the ratings from the users to the items, but also the existence of the ratings as well as the learned recommendation model are kept private in our framework. Our solution relies on a distributed client-server architecture and a two-stage Randomized Response algorithm, along with an implementation on the popular recommendation model, Matrix Factorization (MF). We further prove SDCF to meet the guarantee of Differential Privacy so that clients are allowed to specify arbitrary privacy levels. Experiments conducted on numerical rating prediction and one-class rating action prediction exhibit that SDCF does not sacrifice too much accuracy for privacy.

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Zero-Shot Recommendation as Language Modeling

Dec 08, 2021
Damien Sileo, Wout Vossen, Robbe Raymaekers

Recommendation is the task of ranking items (e.g. movies or products) according to individual user needs. Current systems rely on collaborative filtering and content-based techniques, which both require structured training data. We propose a framework for recommendation with off-the-shelf pretrained language models (LM) that only used unstructured text corpora as training data. If a user $u$ liked \textit{Matrix} and \textit{Inception}, we construct a textual prompt, e.g. \textit{"Movies like Matrix, Inception, ${}$"} to estimate the affinity between $u$ and $m$ with LM likelihood. We motivate our idea with a corpus analysis, evaluate several prompt structures, and we compare LM-based recommendation with standard matrix factorization trained on different data regimes. The code for our experiments is publicly available (

* Accepted at ECIR 2022 

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Behavior Sequence Transformer for E-commerce Recommendation in Alibaba

May 15, 2019
Qiwei Chen, Huan Zhao, Wei Li, Pipei Huang, Wenwu Ou

Deep learning based methods have been widely used in industrial recommendation systems (RSs). Previous works adopt an Embedding&MLP paradigm: raw features are embedded into low-dimensional vectors, which are then fed on to MLP for final recommendations. However, most of these works just concatenate different features, ignoring the sequential nature of users' behaviors. In this paper, we propose to use the powerful Transformer model to capture the sequential signals underlying users' behavior sequences for recommendation in Alibaba. Experimental results demonstrate the superiority of the proposed model, which is then deployed online at Taobao and obtain significant improvements in online Click-Through-Rate (CTR) comparing to two baselines.

* 4 pages, 1 figure 

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Recommendation System-based Upper Confidence Bound for Online Advertising

Sep 09, 2019
Nhan Nguyen-Thanh, Dana Marinca, Kinda Khawam, David Rohde, Flavian Vasile, Elena Simona Lohan, Steven Martin, Dominique Quadri

In this paper, the method UCB-RS, which resorts to recommendation system (RS) for enhancing the upper-confidence bound algorithm UCB, is presented. The proposed method is used for dealing with non-stationary and large-state spaces multi-armed bandit problems. The proposed method has been targeted to the problem of the product recommendation in the online advertising. Through extensive testing with RecoGym, an OpenAI Gym-based reinforcement learning environment for the product recommendation in online advertising, the proposed method outperforms the widespread reinforcement learning schemes such as $\epsilon$-Greedy, Upper Confidence (UCB1) and Exponential Weights for Exploration and Exploitation (EXP3).

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Causal Analysis Framework for Recommendation

Jan 18, 2022
Peng Wu, Haoxuan Li, Yuhao Deng, Wenjie Hu, Quanyu Dai, Zhenhua Dong, Jie Sun, Rui Zhang, Xiao-Hua Zhou

Recently, recommendation based on causal inference has gained much attention in the industrial community. The introduction of causal techniques into recommender systems (RS) has brought great development to this field and has gradually become a trend. However, a unified causal analysis framework has not been established yet. On one hand, the existing causal methods in RS lack a clear causal and mathematical formalization on the scientific questions of interest. Many confusions need to be clarified: what exactly is being estimated, for what purpose, in which scenario, by which technique, and under what plausible assumptions. On the other hand, technically speaking, the existence of various biases is the main obstacle to drawing causal conclusions from observed data. Yet, formal definitions of the biases in RS are still not clear. Both of the limitations greatly hinder the development of RS. In this paper, we attempt to give a causal analysis framework to accommodate different scenarios in RS, thereby providing a principled and rigorous operational guideline for causal recommendation. We first propose a step-by-step guideline on how to clarify and investigate problems in RS using causal concepts. Then, we provide a new taxonomy and give a formal definition of various biases in RS from the perspective of violating what assumptions are adopted in standard causal analysis. Finally, we find that many problems in RS can be well formalized into a few scenarios using the proposed causal analysis framework.

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Given Users Recommendations Based on Reviews on Yelp

Dec 03, 2021
Shuwei Zhang, Maiqi Tang, Qingyang Zhang, Yucan Luo, Yuhui Zou

In our project, we focus on NLP-based hybrid recommendation systems. Our data is from Yelp Data. For our hybrid recommendation system, we have two major components: the first part is to embed the reviews with the Bert model and word2vec model; the second part is the implementation of an item-based collaborative filtering algorithm to compute the similarity of each review under different categories of restaurants. In the end, with the help of similarity scores, we are able to recommend users the most matched restaurant based on their recorded reviews. The coding work is split into several parts: selecting samples and data cleaning, processing, embedding, computing similarity, and computing prediction and error. Due to the size of the data, each part will generate one or more JSON files as the milestone to reduce the pressure on memory and the communication between each part.

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Zero-Shot Recommender Systems

May 18, 2021
Hao Ding, Yifei Ma, Anoop Deoras, Yuyang Wang, Hao Wang

Performance of recommender systems (RS) relies heavily on the amount of training data available. This poses a chicken-and-egg problem for early-stage products, whose amount of data, in turn, relies on the performance of their RS. On the other hand, zero-shot learning promises some degree of generalization from an old dataset to an entirely new dataset. In this paper, we explore the possibility of zero-shot learning in RS. We develop an algorithm, dubbed ZEro-Shot Recommenders (ZESRec), that is trained on an old dataset and generalize to a new one where there are neither overlapping users nor overlapping items, a setting that contrasts typical cross-domain RS that has either overlapping users or items. Different from categorical item indices, i.e., item ID, in previous methods, ZESRec uses items' natural-language descriptions (or description embeddings) as their continuous indices, and therefore naturally generalize to any unseen items. In terms of users, ZESRec builds upon recent advances on sequential RS to represent users using their interactions with items, thereby generalizing to unseen users as well. We study two pairs of real-world RS datasets and demonstrate that ZESRec can successfully enable recommendations in such a zero-shot setting, opening up new opportunities for resolving the chicken-and-egg problem for data-scarce startups or early-stage products.

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Learning from a Learning User for Optimal Recommendations

Feb 03, 2022
Fan Yao, Chuanhao Li, Denis Nekipelov, Hongning Wang, Haifeng Xu

In real-world recommendation problems, especially those with a formidably large item space, users have to gradually learn to estimate the utility of any fresh recommendations from their experience about previously consumed items. This in turn affects their interaction dynamics with the system and can invalidate previous algorithms built on the omniscient user assumption. In this paper, we formalize a model to capture such "learning users" and design an efficient system-side learning solution, coined Noise-Robust Active Ellipsoid Search (RAES), to confront the challenges brought by the non-stationary feedback from such a learning user. Interestingly, we prove that the regret of RAES deteriorates gracefully as the convergence rate of user learning becomes worse, until reaching linear regret when the user's learning fails to converge. Experiments on synthetic datasets demonstrate the strength of RAES for such a contemporaneous system-user learning problem. Our study provides a novel perspective on modeling the feedback loop in recommendation problems.

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Towards an Integrative Educational Recommender for Lifelong Learners

Dec 03, 2019
Sahan Bulathwela, Maria Perez-Ortiz, Emine Yilmaz, John Shawe-Taylor

One of the most ambitious use cases of computer-assisted learning is to build a recommendation system for lifelong learning. Most recommender algorithms exploit similarities between content and users, overseeing the necessity to leverage sensible learning trajectories for the learner. Lifelong learning thus presents unique challenges, requiring scalable and transparent models that can account for learner knowledge and content novelty simultaneously, while also retaining accurate learners representations for long periods of time. We attempt to build a novel educational recommender, that relies on an integrative approach combining multiple drivers of learners engagement. Our first step towards this goal is TrueLearn, which models content novelty and background knowledge of learners and achieves promising performance while retaining a human interpretable learner model.

* In Proceedings of AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2020 

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Context-aware Sequential Recommendation

Sep 19, 2016
Qiang Liu, Shu Wu, Diyi Wang, Zhaokang Li, Liang Wang

Since sequential information plays an important role in modeling user behaviors, various sequential recommendation methods have been proposed. Methods based on Markov assumption are widely-used, but independently combine several most recent components. Recently, Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) based methods have been successfully applied in several sequential modeling tasks. However, for real-world applications, these methods have difficulty in modeling the contextual information, which has been proved to be very important for behavior modeling. In this paper, we propose a novel model, named Context-Aware Recurrent Neural Networks (CA-RNN). Instead of using the constant input matrix and transition matrix in conventional RNN models, CA-RNN employs adaptive context-specific input matrices and adaptive context-specific transition matrices. The adaptive context-specific input matrices capture external situations where user behaviors happen, such as time, location, weather and so on. And the adaptive context-specific transition matrices capture how lengths of time intervals between adjacent behaviors in historical sequences affect the transition of global sequential features. Experimental results show that the proposed CA-RNN model yields significant improvements over state-of-the-art sequential recommendation methods and context-aware recommendation methods on two public datasets, i.e., the Taobao dataset and the Movielens-1M dataset.

* IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM) 2016, to apear 

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