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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Tensor Casting: Co-Designing Algorithm-Architecture for Personalized Recommendation Training

Oct 25, 2020
Youngeun Kwon, Yunjae Lee, Minsoo Rhu

Personalized recommendations are one of the most widely deployed machine learning (ML) workload serviced from cloud datacenters. As such, architectural solutions for high-performance recommendation inference have recently been the target of several prior literatures. Unfortunately, little have been explored and understood regarding the training side of this emerging ML workload. In this paper, we first perform a detailed workload characterization study on training recommendations, root-causing sparse embedding layer training as one of the most significant performance bottlenecks. We then propose our algorithm-architecture co-design called Tensor Casting, which enables the development of a generic accelerator architecture for tensor gather-scatter that encompasses all the key primitives of training embedding layers. When prototyped on a real CPU-GPU system, Tensor Casting provides 1.9-21x improvements in training throughput compared to state-of-the-art approaches.


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Discovering Chatbot's Self-Disclosure's Impact on User Trust, Affinity, and Recommendation Effectiveness

Jun 03, 2021
Kai-Hui Liang, Weiyan Shi, Yoojung Oh, Jingwen Zhang, Zhou Yu

In recent years, chatbots have been empowered to engage in social conversations with humans and have the potential to elicit people to disclose their personal experiences, opinions, and emotions. However, how and to what extent people respond to chabots' self-disclosure remain less known. In this work, we designed a social chatbot with three self-disclosure levels that conducted small talks and provided relevant recommendations to people. 372 MTurk participants were randomized to one of the four groups with different self-disclosure levels to converse with the chatbot on two topics, movies, and COVID-19. We found that people's self-disclosure level was strongly reciprocal to a chatbot's self-disclosure level. Chatbots' self-disclosure also positively impacted engagement and users' perception of the bot and led to a more effective recommendation such that participants enjoyed and agreed more with the recommendations.


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MP2: A Momentum Contrast Approach for Recommendation with Pointwise and Pairwise Learning

Apr 18, 2022
Menghan Wang, Yuchen Guo, Zhenqi Zhao, Guangzheng Hu, Yuming Shen, Mingming Gong, Philip Torr

Binary pointwise labels (aka implicit feedback) are heavily leveraged by deep learning based recommendation algorithms nowadays. In this paper we discuss the limited expressiveness of these labels may fail to accommodate varying degrees of user preference, and thus lead to conflicts during model training, which we call annotation bias. To solve this issue, we find the soft-labeling property of pairwise labels could be utilized to alleviate the bias of pointwise labels. To this end, we propose a momentum contrast framework (MP2) that combines pointwise and pairwise learning for recommendation. MP2 has a three-tower network structure: one user network and two item networks. The two item networks are used for computing pointwise and pairwise loss respectively. To alleviate the influence of the annotation bias, we perform a momentum update to ensure a consistent item representation. Extensive experiments on real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of our method against state-of-the-art recommendation algorithms.

* This paper was accepted at SIGIR 2022 

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Learning to Recommend Using Non-Uniform Data

Oct 21, 2021
Wanning Chen, Mohsen Bayati

Learning user preferences for products based on their past purchases or reviews is at the cornerstone of modern recommendation engines. One complication in this learning task is that some users are more likely to purchase products or review them, and some products are more likely to be purchased or reviewed by the users. This non-uniform pattern degrades the power of many existing recommendation algorithms, as they assume that the observed data is sampled uniformly at random among user-product pairs. In addition, existing literature on modeling non-uniformity either assume user interests are independent of the products, or lack theoretical understanding. In this paper, we first model the user-product preferences as a partially observed matrix with non-uniform observation pattern. Next, building on the literature about low-rank matrix estimation, we introduce a new weighted trace-norm penalized regression to predict unobserved values of the matrix. We then prove an upper bound for the prediction error of our proposed approach. Our upper bound is a function of a number of parameters that are based on a certain weight matrix that depends on the joint distribution of users and products. Utilizing this observation, we introduce a new optimization problem to select a weight matrix that minimizes the upper bound on the prediction error. The final product is a new estimator, NU-Recommend, that outperforms existing methods in both synthetic and real datasets.


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Quaternion-Based Graph Convolution Network for Recommendation

Nov 20, 2021
Yaxing Fang, Pengpeng Zhao, Guanfeng Liu, Yanchi Liu, Victor S. Sheng, Lei Zhao, Xiaofang Zhou

Graph Convolution Network (GCN) has been widely applied in recommender systems for its representation learning capability on user and item embeddings. However, GCN is vulnerable to noisy and incomplete graphs, which are common in real world, due to its recursive message propagation mechanism. In the literature, some work propose to remove the feature transformation during message propagation, but making it unable to effectively capture the graph structural features. Moreover, they model users and items in the Euclidean space, which has been demonstrated to have high distortion when modeling complex graphs, further degrading the capability to capture the graph structural features and leading to sub-optimal performance. To this end, in this paper, we propose a simple yet effective Quaternion-based Graph Convolution Network (QGCN) recommendation model. In the proposed model, we utilize the hyper-complex Quaternion space to learn user and item representations and feature transformation to improve both performance and robustness. Specifically, we first embed all users and items into the Quaternion space. Then, we introduce the quaternion embedding propagation layers with quaternion feature transformation to perform message propagation. Finally, we combine the embeddings generated at each layer with the mean pooling strategy to obtain the final embeddings for recommendation. Extensive experiments on three public benchmark datasets demonstrate that our proposed QGCN model outperforms baseline methods by a large margin.

* 13 pages, 7 figures, 6 tables. Submitted to ICDE 2022 

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Learning to act: a Reinforcement Learning approach to recommend the best next activities

Mar 29, 2022
Stefano Branchi, Chiara Di Francescomarino, Chiara Ghidini, David Massimo, Francesco Ricci, Massimiliano Ronzani

The rise of process data availability has led in the last decade to the development of several data-driven learning approaches. However, most of these approaches limit themselves to use the learned model to predict the future of ongoing process executions. The goal of this paper is moving a step forward and leveraging data with the purpose of learning to act by supporting users with recommendations for the best strategy to follow, in order to optimize a measure of performance. In this paper, we take the (optimization) perspective of one process actor and we recommend the best activities to execute next, in response to what happens in a complex external environment, where there is no control on exogenous factors. To this aim, we investigate an approach that learns, by means of Reinforcement Learning, an optimal policy from the observation of past executions and recommends the best activities to carry on for optimizing a Key Performance Indicator of interest. The potentiality of the approach has been demonstrated on two scenarios taken from real-life data.

* 16 pages, 3 figures 

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Personalized Top-N Sequential Recommendation via Convolutional Sequence Embedding

Sep 19, 2018
Jiaxi Tang, Ke Wang

Top-$N$ sequential recommendation models each user as a sequence of items interacted in the past and aims to predict top-$N$ ranked items that a user will likely interact in a `near future'. The order of interaction implies that sequential patterns play an important role where more recent items in a sequence have a larger impact on the next item. In this paper, we propose a Convolutional Sequence Embedding Recommendation Model (\emph{Caser}) as a solution to address this requirement. The idea is to embed a sequence of recent items into an `image' in the time and latent spaces and learn sequential patterns as local features of the image using convolutional filters. This approach provides a unified and flexible network structure for capturing both general preferences and sequential patterns. The experiments on public datasets demonstrated that Caser consistently outperforms state-of-the-art sequential recommendation methods on a variety of common evaluation metrics.

* Accepted at WSDM 2018 

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Discovering Personalized Semantics for Soft Attributes in Recommender Systems using Concept Activation Vectors

Feb 06, 2022
Christina Göpfert, Yinlam Chow, Chih-wei Hsu, Ivan Vendrov, Tyler Lu, Deepak Ramachandran, Craig Boutilier

Interactive recommender systems (RSs) allow users to express intent, preferences and contexts in a rich fashion, often using natural language. One challenge in using such feedback is inferring a user's semantic intent from the open-ended terms used to describe an item, and using it to refine recommendation results. Leveraging concept activation vectors (CAVs) [21], we develop a framework to learn a representation that captures the semantics of such attributes and connects them to user preferences and behaviors in RSs. A novel feature of our approach is its ability to distinguish objective and subjective attributes and associate different senses with different users. Using synthetic and real-world datasets, we show that our CAV representation accurately interprets users' subjective semantics, and can improve recommendations via interactive critiquing


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Accelerated learning from recommender systems using multi-armed bandit

Aug 16, 2019
Meisam Hejazinia, Kyler Eastman, Shuqin Ye, Abbas Amirabadi, Ravi Divvela

Recommendation systems are a vital component of many online marketplaces, where there are often millions of items to potentially present to users who have a wide variety of wants or needs. Evaluating recommender system algorithms is a hard task, given all the inherent bias in the data, and successful companies must be able to rapidly iterate on their solution to maintain their competitive advantage. The gold standard for evaluating recommendation algorithms has been the A/B test since it is an unbiased way to estimate how well one or more algorithms compare in the real world. However, there are a number of issues with A/B testing that make it impractical to be the sole method of testing, including long lead time, and high cost of exploration. We argue that multi armed bandit (MAB) testing as a solution to these issues. We showcase how we implemented a MAB solution as an extra step between offline and online A/B testing in a production system. We present the result of our experiment and compare all the offline, MAB, and online A/B tests metrics for our use case.


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Consumer Fairness in Recommender Systems: Contextualizing Definitions and Mitigations

Feb 05, 2022
Ludovico Boratto, Gianni Fenu, Mirko Marras, Giacomo Medda

Enabling non-discrimination for end-users of recommender systems by introducing consumer fairness is a key problem, widely studied in both academia and industry. Current research has led to a variety of notions, metrics, and unfairness mitigation procedures. The evaluation of each procedure has been heterogeneous and limited to a mere comparison with models not accounting for fairness. It is hence hard to contextualize the impact of each mitigation procedure w.r.t. the others. In this paper, we conduct a systematic analysis of mitigation procedures against consumer unfairness in rating prediction and top-n recommendation tasks. To this end, we collected 15 procedures proposed in recent top-tier conferences and journals. Only 8 of them could be reproduced. Under a common evaluation protocol, based on two public data sets, we then studied the extent to which recommendation utility and consumer fairness are impacted by these procedures, the interplay between two primary fairness notions based on equity and independence, and the demographic groups harmed by the disparate impact. Our study finally highlights open challenges and future directions in this field. The source code is available at https://github.com/jackmedda/C-Fairness-RecSys.

* Accepted at the 44th European Conference on Information Retrieval (ECIR 2022) 

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