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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

The Unfairness of Active Users and Popularity Bias in Point-of-Interest Recommendation

Apr 08, 2022
Hossein A. Rahmani, Yashar Deldjoo, Ali Tourani, Mohammadmehdi Naghiaei

Point-of-Interest (POI) recommender systems provide personalized recommendations to users and help businesses attract potential customers. Despite their success, recent studies suggest that highly data-driven recommendations could be impacted by data biases, resulting in unfair outcomes for different stakeholders, mainly consumers (users) and providers (items). Most existing fairness-related research works in recommender systems treat user fairness and item fairness issues individually, disregarding that RS work in a two-sided marketplace. This paper studies the interplay between (i) the unfairness of active users, (ii) the unfairness of popular items, and (iii) the accuracy (personalization) of recommendation as three angles of our study triangle. We group users into advantaged and disadvantaged levels to measure user fairness based on their activity level. For item fairness, we divide items into short-head, mid-tail, and long-tail groups and study the exposure of these item groups into the top-k recommendation list of users. Experimental validation of eight different recommendation models commonly used for POI recommendation (e.g., contextual, CF) on two publicly available POI recommendation datasets, Gowalla and Yelp, indicate that most well-performing models suffer seriously from the unfairness of popularity bias (provider unfairness). Furthermore, our study shows that most recommendation models cannot satisfy both consumer and producer fairness, indicating a trade-off between these variables possibly due to natural biases in data. We choose the POI recommendation as our test scenario; however, the insights should be trivially extendable on other domains.

* Accepted at [email protected] 2022 

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Mr. DLib's Living Lab for Scholarly Recommendations

Jul 19, 2018
Joeran Beel, Andrew Collins, Oliver Kopp, Linus Dietz, Petr Knoth

We introduce the first living lab for scholarly recommender systems. This lab allows recommender-system researchers to conduct online evaluations of their novel algorithms for scholarly recommendations, i.e., research papers, citations, conferences, research grants etc. Recommendations are delivered through the living lab's API in platforms such as reference management software and digital libraries. The living lab is built on top of the recommender system as-a-service Mr. DLib. Current partners are the reference management software JabRef and the CORE research team. We present the architecture of Mr. DLib's living lab as well as usage statistics on the first ten months of operating it. During this time, 970,517 recommendations were delivered with a mean click-through rate of 0.22%.


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Offline Meta-level Model-based Reinforcement Learning Approach for Cold-Start Recommendation

Dec 04, 2020
Yanan Wang, Yong Ge, Li Li, Rui Chen, Tong Xu

Reinforcement learning (RL) has shown great promise in optimizing long-term user interest in recommender systems. However, existing RL-based recommendation methods need a large number of interactions for each user to learn a robust recommendation policy. The challenge becomes more critical when recommending to new users who have a limited number of interactions. To that end, in this paper, we address the cold-start challenge in the RL-based recommender systems by proposing a meta-level model-based reinforcement learning approach for fast user adaptation. In our approach, we learn to infer each user's preference with a user context variable that enables recommendation systems to better adapt to new users with few interactions. To improve adaptation efficiency, we learn to recover the user policy and reward from only a few interactions via an inverse reinforcement learning method to assist a meta-level recommendation agent. Moreover, we model the interaction relationship between the user model and recommendation agent from an information-theoretic perspective. Empirical results show the effectiveness of the proposed method when adapting to new users with only a single interaction sequence. We further provide a theoretical analysis of the recommendation performance bound.

* Accepted to Offline Reinforcement Learning Workshop at Neural Information Processing Systems (2020) 

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An Exploratory Study of Hierarchical Fuzzy Systems Approach in Recommendation System

May 27, 2020
Tajul Rosli Razak, Iman Hazwam Abd Halim, Muhammad Nabil Fikri Jamaludin, Mohammad Hafiz Ismail, Shukor Sanim Mohd Fauzi

Recommendation system or also known as a recommender system is a tool to help the user in providing a suggestion of a specific dilemma. Thus, recently, the interest in developing a recommendation system in many fields has increased. Fuzzy Logic system (FLSs) is one of the approaches that can be used to model the recommendation systems as it can deal with uncertainty and imprecise information. However, one of the fundamental issues in FLS is the problem of the curse of dimensionality. That is, the number of rules in FLSs is increasing exponentially with the number of input variables. One effective way to overcome this problem is by using Hierarchical Fuzzy System (HFSs). This paper aims to explore the use of HFSs for Recommendation system. Specifically, we are interested in exploring and comparing the HFS and FLS for the Career path recommendation system (CPRS) based on four key criteria, namely topology, the number of rules, the rules structures and interpretability. The findings suggested that the HFS has advantages over FLS towards improving the interpretability models, in the context of a recommendation system example. This study contributes to providing an insight into the development of interpretable HFSs in the Recommendation systems.

* Jurnal Intelek Vol 14 No 2 December 2019 

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Time-aware Path Reasoning on Knowledge Graph for Recommendation

Aug 05, 2021
Yuyue Zhao, Xiang Wang, Jiawei Chen, Wei Tang, Yashen Wang, Xiangnan He, Haiyong Xie

Reasoning on knowledge graph (KG) has been studied for explainable recommendation due to it's ability of providing explicit explanations. However, current KG-based explainable recommendation methods unfortunately ignore the temporal information (such as purchase time, recommend time, etc.), which may result in unsuitable explanations. In this work, we propose a novel Time-aware Path reasoning for Recommendation (TPRec for short) method, which leverages the potential of temporal information to offer better recommendation with plausible explanations. First, we present an efficient time-aware interaction relation extraction component to construct collaborative knowledge graph with time-aware interactions (TCKG for short), and then introduce a novel time-aware path reasoning method for recommendation. We conduct extensive experiments on three real-world datasets. The results demonstrate that the proposed TPRec could successfully employ TCKG to achieve substantial gains and improve the quality of explainable recommendation.

* 22 pages, ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS) Under Review 

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BoostJet: Towards Combining Statistical Aggregates with Neural Embeddings for Recommendations

Dec 07, 2017
Rhicheek Patra, Egor Samosvat, Michael Roizner, Andrei Mishchenko

Recommenders have become widely popular in recent years because of their broader applicability in many e-commerce applications. These applications rely on recommenders for generating advertisements for various offers or providing content recommendations. However, the quality of the generated recommendations depends on user features (like demography, temporality), offer features (like popularity, price), and user-offer features (like implicit or explicit feedback). Current state-of-the-art recommenders do not explore such diverse features concurrently while generating the recommendations. In this paper, we first introduce the notion of Trackers which enables us to capture the above-mentioned features and thus incorporate users' online behaviour through statistical aggregates of different features (demography, temporality, popularity, price). We also show how to capture offer-to-offer relations, based on their consumption sequence, leveraging neural embeddings for offers in our Offer2Vec algorithm. We then introduce BoostJet, a novel recommender which integrates the Trackers along with the neural embeddings using MatrixNet, an efficient distributed implementation of gradient boosted decision tree, to improve the recommendation quality significantly. We provide an in-depth evaluation of BoostJet on Yandex's dataset, collecting online behaviour from tens of millions of online users, to demonstrate the practicality of BoostJet in terms of recommendation quality as well as scalability.

* 9 pages, 9 figures 

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Understanding and Mitigating Multi-Sided Exposure Bias in Recommender Systems

Nov 10, 2021
Masoud Mansoury

Fairness is a critical system-level objective in recommender systems that has been the subject of extensive recent research. It is especially important in multi-sided recommendation platforms where it may be crucial to optimize utilities not just for the end user, but also for other actors such as item sellers or producers who desire a fair representation of their items. Existing solutions do not properly address various aspects of multi-sided fairness in recommendations as they may either solely have one-sided view (i.e. improving the fairness only for one side), or do not appropriately measure the fairness for each actor involved in the system. In this thesis, I aim at first investigating the impact of unfair recommendations on the system and how these unfair recommendations can negatively affect major actors in the system. Then, I seek to propose solutions to tackle the unfairness of recommendations. I propose a rating transformation technique that works as a pre-processing step before building the recommendation model to alleviate the inherent popularity bias in the input data and consequently to mitigate the exposure unfairness for items and suppliers in the recommendation lists. Also, as another solution, I propose a general graph-based solution that works as a post-processing approach after recommendation generation for mitigating the multi-sided exposure bias in the recommendation results. For evaluation, I introduce several metrics for measuring the exposure fairness for items and suppliers, and show that these metrics better capture the fairness properties in the recommendation results. I perform extensive experiments to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed solutions. The experiments on different publicly-available datasets and comparison with various baselines confirm the superiority of the proposed solutions in improving the exposure fairness for items and suppliers.

* Doctoral thesis 

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Self-Supervised Bot Play for Conversational Recommendation with Justifications

Dec 09, 2021
Shuyang Li, Bodhisattwa Prasad Majumder, Julian McAuley

Conversational recommender systems offer the promise of interactive, engaging ways for users to find items they enjoy. We seek to improve conversational recommendation via three dimensions: 1) We aim to mimic a common mode of human interaction for recommendation: experts justify their suggestions, a seeker explains why they don't like the item, and both parties iterate through the dialog to find a suitable item. 2) We leverage ideas from conversational critiquing to allow users to flexibly interact with natural language justifications by critiquing subjective aspects. 3) We adapt conversational recommendation to a wider range of domains where crowd-sourced ground truth dialogs are not available. We develop a new two-part framework for training conversational recommender systems. First, we train a recommender system to jointly suggest items and justify its reasoning with subjective aspects. We then fine-tune this model to incorporate iterative user feedback via self-supervised bot-play. Experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate that our system can be applied to different recommendation models across diverse domains to achieve superior performance in conversational recommendation compared to state-of-the-art methods. We also evaluate our model on human users, showing that systems trained under our framework provide more useful, helpful, and knowledgeable recommendations in warm- and cold-start settings.


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Improving Explainable Recommendations with Synthetic Reviews

Jul 18, 2018
Sixun Ouyang, Aonghus Lawlor, Felipe Costa, Peter Dolog

An important task for a recommender system to provide interpretable explanations for the user. This is important for the credibility of the system. Current interpretable recommender systems tend to focus on certain features known to be important to the user and offer their explanations in a structured form. It is well known that user generated reviews and feedback from reviewers have strong leverage over the users' decisions. On the other hand, recent text generation works have been shown to generate text of similar quality to human written text, and we aim to show that generated text can be successfully used to explain recommendations. In this paper, we propose a framework consisting of popular review-oriented generation models aiming to create personalised explanations for recommendations. The interpretations are generated at both character and word levels. We build a dataset containing reviewers' feedback from the Amazon books review dataset. Our cross-domain experiments are designed to bridge from natural language processing to the recommender system domain. Besides language model evaluation methods, we employ DeepCoNN, a novel review-oriented recommender system using a deep neural network, to evaluate the recommendation performance of generated reviews by root mean square error (RMSE). We demonstrate that the synthetic personalised reviews have better recommendation performance than human written reviews. To our knowledge, this presents the first machine-generated natural language explanations for rating prediction.

* Recsys DLRS 2018 

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