Industrial recommender systems deal with extremely large action spaces -- many millions of items to recommend. Moreover, they need to serve billions of users, who are unique at any point in time, making a complex user state space. Luckily, huge quantities of logged implicit feedback (e.g., user clicks, dwell time) are available for learning. Learning from the logged feedback is however subject to biases caused by only observing feedback on recommendations selected by the previous versions of the recommender. In this work, we present a general recipe of addressing such biases in a production top-K recommender system at Youtube, built with a policy-gradient-based algorithm, i.e. REINFORCE. The contributions of the paper are: (1) scaling REINFORCE to a production recommender system with an action space on the orders of millions; (2) applying off-policy correction to address data biases in learning from logged feedback collected from multiple behavior policies; (3) proposing a novel top-K off-policy correction to account for our policy recommending multiple items at a time; (4) showcasing the value of exploration. We demonstrate the efficacy of our approaches through a series of simulations and multiple live experiments on Youtube.
Recommendation has been a long-standing problem in many areas ranging from e-commerce to social websites. Most current studies focus only on traditional approaches such as content-based or collaborative filtering while there are relatively fewer studies in hybrid recommender systems. Due to the latest advances of deep learning achieved in different fields including computer vision and natural language processing, deep learning has also gained much attention in Recommendation Systems. There are several studies that utilize ID embeddings of users and items to implement collaborative filtering with deep neural networks. However, such studies do not take advantage of other categorical or continuous features of inputs. In this paper, we propose a new deep neural network architecture which consists of not only ID embeddings but also auxiliary information such as features of job postings and candidates for job recommendation system which is a reciprocal recommendation system. Experimental results on the dataset from a job-site show that the proposed method improves recommendation results over deep learning models utilizing ID embeddings.
Recommender systems have played a critical role in many web applications to meet user's personalized interests and alleviate the information overload. In this survey, we review the development of recommendation frameworks with the focus on heterogeneous relational learning, which consists of different types of dependencies among users and items. The objective of this task is to map heterogeneous relational data into latent representation space, such that the structural and relational properties from both user and item domain can be well preserved. To address this problem, recent research developments can fall into three major lines: social recommendation, knowledge graph-enhanced recommender system, and multi-behavior recommendation. We discuss the learning approaches in each category, such as matrix factorization, attention mechanism and graph neural networks, for effectively distilling heterogeneous contextual information. Finally, we present an exploratory outlook to highlight several promising directions and opportunities in heterogeneous relational learning frameworks for recommendation.
Deep neural networks are widely used in personalized recommendation systems. Unlike regular DNN inference workloads, recommendation inference is memory-bound due to the many random memory accesses needed to lookup the embedding tables. The inference is also heavily constrained in terms of latency because producing a recommendation for a user must be done in about tens of milliseconds. In this paper, we propose MicroRec, a high-performance inference engine for recommendation systems. MicroRec accelerates recommendation inference by (1) redesigning the data structures involved in the embeddings to reduce the number of lookups needed and (2) taking advantage of the availability of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) in FPGA accelerators to tackle the latency by enabling parallel lookups. We have implemented the resulting design on an FPGA board including the embedding lookup step as well as the complete inference process. Compared to the optimized CPU baseline (16 vCPU, AVX2-enabled), MicroRec achieves 13.8~14.7x speedup on embedding lookup alone and 2.5$~5.4x speedup for the entire recommendation inference in terms of throughput. As for latency, CPU-based engines needs milliseconds for inferring a recommendation while MicroRec only takes microseconds, a significant advantage in real-time recommendation systems.
User experience in modern content discovery applications critically depends on high-quality personalized recommendations. However, building systems that provide such recommendations presents a major challenge due to a massive pool of items, a large number of users, and requirements for recommendations to be responsive to user actions and generated on demand in real-time. Here we present Pixie, a scalable graph-based real-time recommender system that we developed and deployed at Pinterest. Given a set of user-specific pins as a query, Pixie selects in real-time from billions of possible pins those that are most related to the query. To generate recommendations, we develop Pixie Random Walk algorithm that utilizes the Pinterest object graph of 3 billion nodes and 17 billion edges. Experiments show that recommendations provided by Pixie lead up to 50% higher user engagement when compared to the previous Hadoop-based production system. Furthermore, we develop a graph pruning strategy at that leads to an additional 58% improvement in recommendations. Last, we discuss system aspects of Pixie, where a single server executes 1,200 recommendation requests per second with 60 millisecond latency. Today, systems backed by Pixie contribute to more than 80% of all user engagement on Pinterest.
The development of personalized recommendation has significantly improved the accuracy of information matching and the revenue of e-commerce platforms. Recently, it has 2 trends: 1) recommender systems must be trained timely to cope with ever-growing new products and ever-changing user interests from online marketing and social network; 2) SOTA recommendation models introduce DNN modules to improve prediction accuracy. Traditional CPU-based recommender systems cannot meet these two trends, and GPU- centric training has become a trending approach. However, we observe that GPU devices in training recommender systems are underutilized, and they cannot attain an expected throughput improvement as what it has achieved in CV and NLP areas. This issue can be explained by two characteristics of these recommendation models: First, they contain up to a thousand input feature fields, introducing fragmentary and memory-intensive operations; Second, the multiple constituent feature interaction submodules introduce substantial small-sized compute kernels. To remove this roadblock to the development of recommender systems, we propose a novel framework named PICASSO to accelerate the training of recommendation models on commodity hardware. Specifically, we conduct a systematic analysis to reveal the bottlenecks encountered in training recommendation models. We leverage the model structure and data distribution to unleash the potential of hardware through our packing, interleaving, and caching optimization. Experiments show that PICASSO increases the hardware utilization by an order of magnitude on the basis of SOTA baselines and brings up to 6x throughput improvement for a variety of industrial recommendation models. Using the same hardware budget in production, PICASSO on average shortens the walltime of daily training tasks by 7 hours, significantly reducing the delay of continuous delivery.
There has been growing interest in using neural networks and deep learning techniques to create dialogue systems. Conversational recommendation is an interesting setting for the scientific exploration of dialogue with natural language as the associated discourse involves goal-driven dialogue that often transforms naturally into more free-form chat. This paper provides two contributions. First, until now there has been no publicly available large-scale dataset consisting of real-world dialogues centered around recommendations. To address this issue and to facilitate our exploration here, we have collected ReDial, a dataset consisting of over 10,000 conversations centered around the theme of providing movie recommendations. We make this data available to the community for further research. Second, we use this dataset to explore multiple facets of conversational recommendations. In particular we explore new neural architectures, mechanisms, and methods suitable for composing conversational recommendation systems. Our dataset allows us to systematically probe model sub-components addressing different parts of the overall problem domain ranging from: sentiment analysis and cold-start recommendation generation to detailed aspects of how natural language is used in this setting in the real world. We combine such sub-components into a full-blown dialogue system and examine its behavior.
We study a conversational recommendation model which dynamically manages users' past (offline) preferences and current (online) requests through a structured and cumulative user memory knowledge graph, to allow for natural interactions and accurate recommendations. For this study, we create a new Memory Graph (MG) <--> Conversational Recommendation parallel corpus called MGConvRex with 7K+ human-to-human role-playing dialogs, grounded on a large-scale user memory bootstrapped from real-world user scenarios. MGConvRex captures human-level reasoning over user memory and has disjoint training/testing sets of users for zero-shot (cold-start) reasoning for recommendation. We propose a simple yet expandable formulation for constructing and updating the MG, and a reasoning model that predicts optimal dialog policies and recommendation items in unconstrained graph space. The prediction of our proposed model inherits the graph structure, providing a natural way to explain the model's recommendation. Experiments are conducted for both offline metrics and online simulation, showing competitive results.
Recommender system has been proven to be significantly crucial in many fields and is widely used by various domains. Most of the conventional recommender systems rely on the numeric rating given by a user to reflect his opinion about a consumed item; however, these ratings are not available in many domains. As a result, a new source of information represented by the user-generated reviews is incorporated in the recommendation process to compensate for the lack of these ratings. The reviews contain prosperous and numerous information related to the whole item or a specific feature that can be extracted using the sentiment analysis field. This paper gives a comprehensive overview to help researchers who aim to work with recommender system and sentiment analysis. It includes a background of the recommender system concept, including phases, approaches, and performance metrics used in recommender systems. Then, it discusses the sentiment analysis concept and highlights the main points in the sentiment analysis, including level, approaches, and focuses on aspect-based sentiment analysis.