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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

ELECRec: Training Sequential Recommenders as Discriminators

Apr 08, 2022
Yongjun Chen, Jia Li, Caiming Xiong

Sequential recommendation is often considered as a generative task, i.e., training a sequential encoder to generate the next item of a user's interests based on her historical interacted items. Despite their prevalence, these methods usually require training with more meaningful samples to be effective, which otherwise will lead to a poorly trained model. In this work, we propose to train the sequential recommenders as discriminators rather than generators. Instead of predicting the next item, our method trains a discriminator to distinguish if a sampled item is a 'real' target item or not. A generator, as an auxiliary model, is trained jointly with the discriminator to sample plausible alternative next items and will be thrown out after training. The trained discriminator is considered as the final SR model and denoted as \modelname. Experiments conducted on four datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed approach.

* Accepted to SIGIR 2022 

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Recommender Systems with Heterogeneous Side Information

Jul 18, 2019
Tianqiao Liu, Zhiwei Wang, Jiliang Tang, Songfan Yang, Gale Yan Huang, Zitao Liu

In modern recommender systems, both users and items are associated with rich side information, which can help understand users and items. Such information is typically heterogeneous and can be roughly categorized into flat and hierarchical side information. While side information has been proved to be valuable, the majority of existing systems have exploited either only flat side information or only hierarchical side information due to the challenges brought by the heterogeneity. In this paper, we investigate the problem of exploiting heterogeneous side information for recommendations. Specifically, we propose a novel framework jointly captures flat and hierarchical side information with mathematical coherence. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework via extensive experiments on various real-world datasets. Empirical results show that our approach is able to lead a significant performance gain over the state-of-the-art methods.

* Proceedings of the 2019 World Wide Web Conference 

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Edge-Compatible Reinforcement Learning for Recommendations

Dec 10, 2021
James E. Kostas, Philip S. Thomas, Georgios Theocharous

Most reinforcement learning (RL) recommendation systems designed for edge computing must either synchronize during recommendation selection or depend on an unprincipled patchwork collection of algorithms. In this work, we build on asynchronous coagent policy gradient algorithms \citep{kostas2020asynchronous} to propose a principled solution to this problem. The class of algorithms that we propose can be distributed over the internet and run asynchronously and in real-time. When a given edge fails to respond to a request for data with sufficient speed, this is not a problem; the algorithm is designed to function and learn in the edge setting, and network issues are part of this setting. The result is a principled, theoretically grounded RL algorithm designed to be distributed in and learn in this asynchronous environment. In this work, we describe this algorithm and a proposed class of architectures in detail, and demonstrate that they work well in practice in the asynchronous setting, even as the network quality degrades.


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How Algorithmic Confounding in Recommendation Systems Increases Homogeneity and Decreases Utility

Oct 30, 2017
Allison J. B. Chaney, Brandon M. Stewart, Barbara E. Engelhardt

Recommendation systems occupy an expanding role in everyday decision making, from choice of movies and household goods to consequential medical and legal decisions. The data used to train and test these systems is algorithmically confounded in that it is the result of a feedback loop between human choices and an existing algorithmic recommendation system. Using simulations, we demonstrate that algorithmic confounding can disadvantage algorithms in training, bias held-out evaluation, and amplify homogenization of user behavior without gains in utility.


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PEEK: A Large Dataset of Learner Engagement with Educational Videos

Sep 13, 2021
Sahan Bulathwela, Maria Perez-Ortiz, Erik Novak, Emine Yilmaz, John Shawe-Taylor

Educational recommenders have received much less attention in comparison to e-commerce and entertainment-related recommenders, even though efficient intelligent tutors have great potential to improve learning gains. One of the main challenges in advancing this research direction is the scarcity of large, publicly available datasets. In this work, we release a large, novel dataset of learners engaging with educational videos in-the-wild. The dataset, named Personalised Educational Engagement with Knowledge Topics PEEK, is the first publicly available dataset of this nature. The video lectures have been associated with Wikipedia concepts related to the material of the lecture, thus providing a humanly intuitive taxonomy. We believe that granular learner engagement signals in unison with rich content representations will pave the way to building powerful personalization algorithms that will revolutionise educational and informational recommendation systems. Towards this goal, we 1) construct a novel dataset from a popular video lecture repository, 2) identify a set of benchmark algorithms to model engagement, and 3) run extensive experimentation on the PEEK dataset to demonstrate its value. Our experiments with the dataset show promise in building powerful informational recommender systems. The dataset and the support code is available publicly.

* To be published at ORSUM '21: 4th Workshop on Online Recommender Systems and User Modeling at ACM RecSys 2021 

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Sliding Spectrum Decomposition for Diversified Recommendation

Jul 12, 2021
Yanhua Huang, Weikun Wang, Lei Zhang, Ruiwen Xu

Content feed, a type of product that recommends a sequence of items for users to browse and engage with, has gained tremendous popularity among social media platforms. In this paper, we propose to study the diversity problem in such a scenario from an item sequence perspective using time series analysis techniques. We derive a method called sliding spectrum decomposition (SSD) that captures users' perception of diversity in browsing a long item sequence. We also share our experiences in designing and implementing a suitable item embedding method for accurate similarity measurement under long tail effect. Combined together, they are now fully implemented and deployed in Xiaohongshu App's production recommender system that serves the main Explore Feed product for tens of millions of users every day. We demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of the method through theoretical analysis, offline experiments and online A/B tests.

* In Proceedings of the 27th ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (KDD '21), August 14--18, 2021, Virtual Event, Singapore 

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Exploiting Bi-directional Global Transition Patterns and Personal Preferences for Missing POI Category Identification

Dec 31, 2021
Dongbo Xi, Fuzhen Zhuang, Yanchi Liu, Hengshu Zhu, Pengpeng Zhao, Chang Tan, Qing He

Recent years have witnessed the increasing popularity of Location-based Social Network (LBSN) services, which provides unparalleled opportunities to build personalized Point-of-Interest (POI) recommender systems. Existing POI recommendation and location prediction tasks utilize past information for future recommendation or prediction from a single direction perspective, while the missing POI category identification task needs to utilize the check-in information both before and after the missing category. Therefore, a long-standing challenge is how to effectively identify the missing POI categories at any time in the real-world check-in data of mobile users. To this end, in this paper, we propose a novel neural network approach to identify the missing POI categories by integrating both bi-directional global non-personal transition patterns and personal preferences of users. Specifically, we delicately design an attention matching cell to model how well the check-in category information matches their non-personal transition patterns and personal preferences. Finally, we evaluate our model on two real-world datasets, which clearly validate its effectiveness compared with the state-of-the-art baselines. Furthermore, our model can be naturally extended to address next POI category recommendation and prediction tasks with competitive performance.

* Accepted by Neural Networks. arXiv admin note: text overlap with arXiv:2112.15285 

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Bayesian Persuasion for Algorithmic Recourse

Dec 12, 2021
Keegan Harris, Valerie Chen, Joon Sik Kim, Ameet Talwalkar, Hoda Heidari, Zhiwei Steven Wu

When subjected to automated decision-making, decision-subjects will strategically modify their observable features in ways they believe will maximize their chances of receiving a desirable outcome. In many situations, the underlying predictive model is deliberately kept secret to avoid gaming and maintain competitive advantage. This opacity forces the decision subjects to rely on incomplete information when making strategic feature modifications. We capture such settings as a game of Bayesian persuasion, in which the decision-maker sends a signal, e.g., an action recommendation, to a decision subject to incentivize them to take desirable actions. We formulate the decision-maker's problem of finding the optimal Bayesian incentive-compatible (BIC) action recommendation policy as an optimization problem and characterize the solution via a linear program. Through this characterization, we observe that while the problem of finding the optimal BIC recommendation policy can be simplified dramatically, the computational complexity of solving this linear program is closely tied to (1) the relative size of the decision-subjects' action space, and (2) the number of features utilized by the underlying predictive model. Finally, we provide bounds on the performance of the optimal BIC recommendation policy and show that it can lead to arbitrarily better outcomes compared to standard baselines.


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Coupled Variational Recurrent Collaborative Filtering

Jun 11, 2019
Qingquan Song, Shiyu Chang, Xia Hu

We focus on the problem of streaming recommender system and explore novel collaborative filtering algorithms to handle the data dynamicity and complexity in a streaming manner. Although deep neural networks have demonstrated the effectiveness of recommendation tasks, it is lack of explorations on integrating probabilistic models and deep architectures under streaming recommendation settings. Conjoining the complementary advantages of probabilistic models and deep neural networks could enhance both model effectiveness and the understanding of inference uncertainties. To bridge the gap, in this paper, we propose a Coupled Variational Recurrent Collaborative Filtering (CVRCF) framework based on the idea of Deep Bayesian Learning to handle the streaming recommendation problem. The framework jointly combines stochastic processes and deep factorization models under a Bayesian paradigm to model the generation and evolution of users' preferences and items' popularities. To ensure efficient optimization and streaming update, we further propose a sequential variational inference algorithm based on a cross variational recurrent neural network structure. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed framework performs favorably against the state-of-the-art methods in terms of both temporal dependency modeling and predictive accuracy. The learned latent variables also provide visualized interpretations for the evolution of temporal dynamics.


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