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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Improving Outfit Recommendation with Co-supervision of Fashion Generation

Aug 24, 2019
Yujie Lin, Pengjie Ren, Zhumin Chen, Zhaochun Ren, Jun Ma, Maarten de Rijke

The task of fashion recommendation includes two main challenges: visual understanding and visual matching. Visual understanding aims to extract effective visual features. Visual matching aims to model a human notion of compatibility to compute a match between fashion items. Most previous studies rely on recommendation loss alone to guide visual understanding and matching. Although the features captured by these methods describe basic characteristics (e.g., color, texture, shape) of the input items, they are not directly related to the visual signals of the output items (to be recommended). This is problematic because the aesthetic characteristics (e.g., style, design), based on which we can directly infer the output items, are lacking. Features are learned under the recommendation loss alone, where the supervision signal is simply whether the given two items are matched or not. To address this problem, we propose a neural co-supervision learning framework, called the FAshion Recommendation Machine (FARM). FARM improves visual understanding by incorporating the supervision of generation loss, which we hypothesize to be able to better encode aesthetic information. FARM enhances visual matching by introducing a novel layer-to-layer matching mechanism to fuse aesthetic information more effectively, and meanwhile avoiding paying too much attention to the generation quality and ignoring the recommendation performance. Extensive experiments on two publicly available datasets show that FARM outperforms state-of-the-art models on outfit recommendation, in terms of AUC and MRR. Detailed analyses of generated and recommended items demonstrate that FARM can encode better features and generate high quality images as references to improve recommendation performance.


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Fair Multi-Stakeholder News Recommender System with Hypergraph ranking

Dec 01, 2020
Alireza Gharahighehi, Celine Vens, Konstantinos Pliakos

Recommender systems are typically designed to fulfill end user needs. However, in some domains the users are not the only stakeholders in the system. For instance, in a news aggregator website users, authors, magazines as well as the platform itself are potential stakeholders. Most of the collaborative filtering recommender systems suffer from popularity bias. Therefore, if the recommender system only considers users' preferences, presumably it over-represents popular providers and under-represents less popular providers. To address this issue one should consider other stakeholders in the generated ranked lists. In this paper we demonstrate that hypergraph learning has the natural capability of handling a multi-stakeholder recommendation task. A hypergraph can model high order relations between different types of objects and therefore is naturally inclined to generate recommendation lists considering multiple stakeholders. We form the recommendations in time-wise rounds and learn to adapt the weights of stakeholders to increase the coverage of low-covered stakeholders over time. The results show that the proposed approach counters popularity bias and produces fairer recommendations with respect to authors in two news datasets, at a low cost in precision.


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User-controllable Recommendation Against Filter Bubbles

Apr 29, 2022
Wenjie Wang, Fuli Feng, Liqiang Nie, Tat-Seng Chua

Recommender systems usually face the issue of filter bubbles: overrecommending homogeneous items based on user features and historical interactions. Filter bubbles will grow along the feedback loop and inadvertently narrow user interests. Existing work usually mitigates filter bubbles by incorporating objectives apart from accuracy such as diversity and fairness. However, they typically sacrifice accuracy, hurting model fidelity and user experience. Worse still, users have to passively accept the recommendation strategy and influence the system in an inefficient manner with high latency, e.g., keeping providing feedback (e.g., like and dislike) until the system recognizes the user intention. This work proposes a new recommender prototype called UserControllable Recommender System (UCRS), which enables users to actively control the mitigation of filter bubbles. Functionally, 1) UCRS can alert users if they are deeply stuck in filter bubbles. 2) UCRS supports four kinds of control commands for users to mitigate the bubbles at different granularities. 3) UCRS can respond to the controls and adjust the recommendations on the fly. The key to adjusting lies in blocking the effect of out-of-date user representations on recommendations, which contains historical information inconsistent with the control commands. As such, we develop a causality-enhanced User-Controllable Inference (UCI) framework, which can quickly revise the recommendations based on user controls in the inference stage and utilize counterfactual inference to mitigate the effect of out-of-date user representations. Experiments on three datasets validate that the UCI framework can effectively recommend more desired items based on user controls, showing promising performance w.r.t. both accuracy and diversity.

* Proceedings of the 45th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2022) 
* Accepted by SIGIR 2022 

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Rewiring What-to-Watch-Next Recommendations to Reduce Radicalization Pathways

Feb 01, 2022
Francesco Fabbri, Yanhao Wang, Francesco Bonchi, Carlos Castillo, Michael Mathioudakis

Recommender systems typically suggest to users content similar to what they consumed in the past. If a user happens to be exposed to strongly polarized content, she might subsequently receive recommendations which may steer her towards more and more radicalized content, eventually being trapped in what we call a "radicalization pathway". In this paper, we study the problem of mitigating radicalization pathways using a graph-based approach. Specifically, we model the set of recommendations of a "what-to-watch-next" recommender as a d-regular directed graph where nodes correspond to content items, links to recommendations, and paths to possible user sessions. We measure the "segregation" score of a node representing radicalized content as the expected length of a random walk from that node to any node representing non-radicalized content. High segregation scores are associated to larger chances to get users trapped in radicalization pathways. Hence, we define the problem of reducing the prevalence of radicalization pathways by selecting a small number of edges to "rewire", so to minimize the maximum of segregation scores among all radicalized nodes, while maintaining the relevance of the recommendations. We prove that the problem of finding the optimal set of recommendations to rewire is NP-hard and NP-hard to approximate within any factor. Therefore, we turn our attention to heuristics, and propose an efficient yet effective greedy algorithm based on the absorbing random walk theory. Our experiments on real-world datasets in the context of video and news recommendations confirm the effectiveness of our proposal.

* To appear in the Web conference 2022 (WWW '22) 

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Leave No User Behind: Towards Improving the Utility of Recommender Systems for Non-mainstream Users

Feb 02, 2021
Roger Zhe Li, Julián Urbano, Alan Hanjalic

In a collaborative-filtering recommendation scenario, biases in the data will likely propagate in the learned recommendations. In this paper we focus on the so-called mainstream bias: the tendency of a recommender system to provide better recommendations to users who have a mainstream taste, as opposed to non-mainstream users. We propose NAECF, a conceptually simple but effective idea to address this bias. The idea consists of adding an autoencoder (AE) layer when learning user and item representations with text-based Convolutional Neural Networks. The AEs, one for the users and one for the items, serve as adversaries to the process of minimizing the rating prediction error when learning how to recommend. They enforce that the specific unique properties of all users and items are sufficiently well incorporated and preserved in the learned representations. These representations, extracted as the bottlenecks of the corresponding AEs, are expected to be less biased towards mainstream users, and to provide more balanced recommendation utility across all users. Our experimental results confirm these expectations, significantly improving the recommendations for non-mainstream users while maintaining the recommendation quality for mainstream users. Our results emphasize the importance of deploying extensive content-based features, such as online reviews, in order to better represent users and items to maximize the de-biasing effect.

* 9 pages, 6 figures, accepted to WSDM 2021 

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Do Offline Metrics Predict Online Performance in Recommender Systems?

Nov 07, 2020
Karl Krauth, Sarah Dean, Alex Zhao, Wenshuo Guo, Mihaela Curmei, Benjamin Recht, Michael I. Jordan

Recommender systems operate in an inherently dynamical setting. Past recommendations influence future behavior, including which data points are observed and how user preferences change. However, experimenting in production systems with real user dynamics is often infeasible, and existing simulation-based approaches have limited scale. As a result, many state-of-the-art algorithms are designed to solve supervised learning problems, and progress is judged only by offline metrics. In this work we investigate the extent to which offline metrics predict online performance by evaluating eleven recommenders across six controlled simulated environments. We observe that offline metrics are correlated with online performance over a range of environments. However, improvements in offline metrics lead to diminishing returns in online performance. Furthermore, we observe that the ranking of recommenders varies depending on the amount of initial offline data available. We study the impact of adding exploration strategies, and observe that their effectiveness, when compared to greedy recommendation, is highly dependent on the recommendation algorithm. We provide the environments and recommenders described in this paper as Reclab: an extensible ready-to-use simulation framework at https://github.com/berkeley-reclab/RecLab.


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Random Walks with Erasure: Diversifying Personalized Recommendations on Social and Information Networks

Feb 25, 2021
Bibek Paudel, Abraham Bernstein

Most existing personalization systems promote items that match a user's previous choices or those that are popular among similar users. This results in recommendations that are highly similar to the ones users are already exposed to, resulting in their isolation inside familiar but insulated information silos. In this context, we develop a novel recommendation framework with a goal of improving information diversity using a modified random walk exploration of the user-item graph. We focus on the problem of political content recommendation, while addressing a general problem applicable to personalization tasks in other social and information networks. For recommending political content on social networks, we first propose a new model to estimate the ideological positions for both users and the content they share, which is able to recover ideological positions with high accuracy. Based on these estimated positions, we generate diversified personalized recommendations using our new random-walk based recommendation algorithm. With experimental evaluations on large datasets of Twitter discussions, we show that our method based on \emph{random walks with erasure} is able to generate more ideologically diverse recommendations. Our approach does not depend on the availability of labels regarding the bias of users or content producers. With experiments on open benchmark datasets from other social and information networks, we also demonstrate the effectiveness of our method in recommending diverse long-tail items.

* Proceedings of the Web Conference 2021 (WWW '21), April 19--23, 2021, Ljubljana, Slovenia 
* Web Conference 2021 (WWW '21) 

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Self-Supervised Reinforcement Learning for Recommender Systems

Jun 11, 2020
Xin Xin, Alexandros Karatzoglou, Ioannis Arapakis, Joemon M. Jose

In session-based or sequential recommendation, it is important to consider a number of factors like long-term user engagement, multiple types of user-item interactions such as clicks, purchases etc. The current state-of-the-art supervised approaches fail to model them appropriately. Casting sequential recommendation task as a reinforcement learning (RL) problem is a promising direction. A major component of RL approaches is to train the agent through interactions with the environment. However, it is often problematic to train a recommender in an on-line fashion due to the requirement to expose users to irrelevant recommendations. As a result, learning the policy from logged implicit feedback is of vital importance, which is challenging due to the pure off-policy setting and lack of negative rewards (feedback). In this paper, we propose self-supervised reinforcement learning for sequential recommendation tasks. Our approach augments standard recommendation models with two output layers: one for self-supervised learning and the other for RL. The RL part acts as a regularizer to drive the supervised layer focusing on specific rewards(e.g., recommending items which may lead to purchases rather than clicks) while the self-supervised layer with cross-entropy loss provides strong gradient signals for parameter updates. Based on such an approach, we propose two frameworks namely Self-Supervised Q-learning(SQN) and Self-Supervised Actor-Critic(SAC). We integrate the proposed frameworks with four state-of-the-art recommendation models. Experimental results on two real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach.

* SIGIR2020 

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