Over the past two decades, recommender systems have attracted a lot of interest due to the explosion in the amount of data in online applications. A particular attention has been paid to collaborative filtering, which is the most widely used in applications that involve information recommendations. Collaborative filtering (CF) uses the known preference of a group of users to make predictions and recommendations about the unknown preferences of other users (recommendations are made based on the past behavior of users). First introduced in the 1990s, a wide variety of increasingly successful models have been proposed. Due to the success of machine learning techniques in many areas, there has been a growing emphasis on the application of such algorithms in recommendation systems. In this article, we present an overview of the CF approaches for recommender systems, their two main categories, and their evaluation metrics. We focus on the application of classical Machine Learning algorithms to CF recommender systems by presenting their evolution from their first use-cases to advanced Machine Learning models. We attempt to provide a comprehensive and comparative overview of CF systems (with python implementations) that can serve as a guideline for research and practice in this area.
Recommender systems usually amplify the biases in the data. The model learned from historical interactions with imbalanced item distribution will amplify the imbalance by over-recommending items from the major groups. Addressing this issue is essential for a healthy ecosystem of recommendation in the long run. Existing works apply bias control to the ranking targets (e.g., calibration, fairness, and diversity), but ignore the true reason for bias amplification and trade-off the recommendation accuracy. In this work, we scrutinize the cause-effect factors for bias amplification, identifying the main reason lies in the confounder effect of imbalanced item distribution on user representation and prediction score. The existence of such confounder pushes us to go beyond merely modeling the conditional probability and embrace the causal modeling for recommendation. Towards this end, we propose a Deconfounded Recommender System (DecRS), which models the causal effect of user representation on the prediction score. The key to eliminating the impact of the confounder lies in backdoor adjustment, which is however difficult to do due to the infinite sample space of the confounder. For this challenge, we contribute an approximation operator for backdoor adjustment which can be easily plugged into most recommender models. Lastly, we devise an inference strategy to dynamically regulate backdoor adjustment according to user status. We instantiate DecRS on two representative models FM and NFM, and conduct extensive experiments over two benchmarks to validate the superiority of our proposed DecRS.
Recommender Systems are algorithms that predict a user's preference for an item. Reciprocal Recommenders are a subset of recommender systems, where the items in question are people, and the objective is therefore to predict a bidirectional preference relation. They are used in settings such as online dating services and social networks. In particular, images provided by users are a crucial part of user preference, and one that is not exploited much in the literature. We present a novel method of interpreting user image preference history and using this to make recommendations. We train a recurrent neural network to learn a user's preferences and make predictions of reciprocal preference relations that can be used to make recommendations that satisfy both users. We show that our proposed system achieves an F1 score of 0.87 when using only photographs to produce reciprocal recommendations on a large real world online dating dataset. Our system significantly outperforms on the state of the art in both content-based and collaborative filtering systems.
We explore the task of local music recommendation: provide listeners with personalized playlists of relevant tracks by artists who play most of their live events within a small geographic area. Most local artists tend to be obscure, long-tail artists and generally have little or no available user preference data associated with them. This creates a cold-start problem for collaborative filtering-based recommendation algorithms that depend on large amounts of such information to make accurate recommendations. In this paper, we compare the performance of three standard recommender system algorithms (Item-Item Neighborhood (IIN), Alternating Least Squares for Implicit Feedback (ALS), and Bayesian Personalized Ranking (BPR)) on the task of local music recommendation using the Million Playlist Dataset. To do this, we modify the standard evaluation procedure such that the algorithms only rank tracks by local artists for each of the eight different cities. Despite the fact that techniques based on matrix factorization (ALS, BPR) typically perform best on large recommendation tasks, we find that the neighborhood-based approach (IIN) performs best for long-tail local music recommendation.
Most of the research in the recommender systems domain is focused on the optimization of the metrics based on historical data such as Mean Average Precision (MAP) or Recall. However, there is a gap between the research and industry since the leading Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for businesses are revenue and profit. In this paper, we explore the impact of manipulating the profit awareness of a recommender system. An average e-commerce business does not usually use a complicated recommender algorithm. We propose an adjustment of a predicted ranking for score-based recommender systems and explore the effect of the profit and customers' price preferences on two industry datasets from the fashion domain. In the experiments, we show the ability to improve both the precision and the generated recommendations' profit. Such an outcome represents a win-win situation when e-commerce increases the profit and customers get more valuable recommendations.
To alleviate data sparsity and cold-start problems of traditional recommender systems (RSs), incorporating knowledge graphs (KGs) to supplement auxiliary information has attracted considerable attention recently. However, simply integrating KGs in current KG-based RS models is not necessarily a guarantee to improve the recommendation performance, which may even weaken the holistic model capability. This is because the construction of these KGs is independent of the collection of historical user-item interactions; hence, information in these KGs may not always be helpful for recommendation to all users. In this paper, we propose attentive Knowledge-aware Graph convolutional networks with Collaborative Guidance for personalized Recommendation (CG-KGR). CG-KGR is a novel knowledge-aware recommendation model that enables ample and coherent learning of KGs and user-item interactions, via our proposed Collaborative Guidance Mechanism. Specifically, CG-KGR first encapsulates historical interactions to interactive information summarization. Then CG-KGR utilizes it as guidance to extract information out of KGs, which eventually provides more precise personalized recommendation. We conduct extensive experiments on four real-world datasets over two recommendation tasks, i.e., Top-K recommendation and Click-Through rate (CTR) prediction. The experimental results show that the CG-KGR model significantly outperforms recent state-of-the-art models by 4.0-53.2% and 0.4-3.2%, in terms of Recall metric on Top-K recommendation and AUC on CTR prediction, respectively.
Understanding users' context is essential for successful recommendations, especially for Online-to-Offline (O2O) recommendation, such as Yelp, Groupon, and Koubei. Different from traditional recommendation where individual preference is mostly static, O2O recommendation should be dynamic to capture variation of users' purposes across time and location. However, precisely inferring users' real-time contexts information, especially those implicit ones, is extremely difficult, and it is a central challenge for O2O recommendation. In this paper, we propose a new approach, called Mixture Attentional Constrained Denoise AutoEncoder (MACDAE), to infer implicit contexts and consequently, to improve the quality of real-time O2O recommendation. In MACDAE, we first leverage the interaction among users, items, and explicit contexts to infer users' implicit contexts, then combine the learned implicit-context representation into an end-to-end model to make the recommendation. MACDAE works quite well in the real system. We conducted both offline and online evaluations of the proposed approach. Experiments on several real-world datasets (Yelp, Dianping, and Koubei) show our approach could achieve significant improvements over state-of-the-arts. Furthermore, online A/B test suggests a 2.9% increase for click-through rate and 5.6% improvement for conversion rate in real-world traffic. Our model has been deployed in the product of "Guess You Like" recommendation in Koubei.
Point-of-Interest (POI) recommender systems play a vital role in people's lives by recommending unexplored POIs to users and have drawn extensive attention from both academia and industry. Despite their value, however, they still suffer from the challenges of capturing complicated user preferences and fine-grained user-POI relationship for spatio-temporal sensitive POI recommendation. Existing recommendation algorithms, including both shallow and deep approaches, usually embed the visiting records of a user into a single latent vector to model user preferences: this has limited power of representation and interpretability. In this paper, we propose a novel topic-enhanced memory network (TEMN), a deep architecture to integrate the topic model and memory network capitalising on the strengths of both the global structure of latent patterns and local neighbourhood-based features in a nonlinear fashion. We further incorporate a geographical module to exploit user-specific spatial preference and POI-specific spatial influence to enhance recommendations. The proposed unified hybrid model is widely applicable to various POI recommendation scenarios. Extensive experiments on real-world WeChat datasets demonstrate its effectiveness (improvement ratio of 3.25% and 29.95% for context-aware and sequential recommendation, respectively). Also, qualitative analysis of the attention weights and topic modeling provides insight into the model's recommendation process and results.
Algorithmic recommendations mediate interactions between millions of customers and products (in turn, their producers and sellers) on large e-commerce marketplaces like Amazon. In recent years, the producers and sellers have raised concerns about the fairness of black-box recommendation algorithms deployed on these marketplaces. Many complaints are centered around marketplaces biasing the algorithms to preferentially favor their own `private label' products over competitors. These concerns are exacerbated as marketplaces increasingly de-emphasize or replace `organic' recommendations with ad-driven `sponsored' recommendations, which include their own private labels. While these concerns have been covered in popular press and have spawned regulatory investigations, to our knowledge, there has not been any public audit of these marketplace algorithms. In this study, we bridge this gap by performing an end-to-end systematic audit of related item recommendations on Amazon. We propose a network-centric framework to quantify and compare the biases across organic and sponsored related item recommendations. Along a number of our proposed bias measures, we find that the sponsored recommendations are significantly more biased toward Amazon private label products compared to organic recommendations. While our findings are primarily interesting to producers and sellers on Amazon, our proposed bias measures are generally useful for measuring link formation bias in any social or content networks.