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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

State Encoders in Reinforcement Learning for Recommendation: A Reproducibility Study

May 11, 2022
Jin Huang, Harrie Oosterhuis, Bunyamin Cetinkaya, Thijs Rood, Maarten de Rijke

Methods for reinforcement learning for recommendation (RL4Rec) are increasingly receiving attention as they can quickly adapt to user feedback. A typical RL4Rec framework consists of (1) a state encoder to encode the state that stores the users' historical interactions, and (2) an RL method to take actions and observe rewards. Prior work compared four state encoders in an environment where user feedback is simulated based on real-world logged user data. An attention-based state encoder was found to be the optimal choice as it reached the highest performance. However, this finding is limited to the actor-critic method, four state encoders, and evaluation-simulators that do not debias logged user data. In response to these shortcomings, we reproduce and expand on the existing comparison of attention-based state encoders (1) in the publicly available debiased RL4Rec SOFA simulator with (2) a different RL method, (3) more state encoders, and (4) a different dataset. Importantly, our experimental results indicate that existing findings do not generalize to the debiased SOFA simulator generated from a different dataset and a Deep Q-Network (DQN)-based method when compared with more state encoders.

* SIGIR 2022 

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Latent Contextual Bandits and their Application to Personalized Recommendations for New Users

Apr 22, 2016
Li Zhou, Emma Brunskill

Personalized recommendations for new users, also known as the cold-start problem, can be formulated as a contextual bandit problem. Existing contextual bandit algorithms generally rely on features alone to capture user variability. Such methods are inefficient in learning new users' interests. In this paper we propose Latent Contextual Bandits. We consider both the benefit of leveraging a set of learned latent user classes for new users, and how we can learn such latent classes from prior users. We show that our approach achieves a better regret bound than existing algorithms. We also demonstrate the benefit of our approach using a large real world dataset and a preliminary user study.

* 25th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI 2016) 

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Towards Arbitrary-View Face Alignment by Recommendation Trees

Nov 20, 2015
Shizhan Zhu, Cheng Li, Chen Change Loy, Xiaoou Tang

Learning to simultaneously handle face alignment of arbitrary views, e.g. frontal and profile views, appears to be more challenging than we thought. The difficulties lay in i) accommodating the complex appearance-shape relations exhibited in different views, and ii) encompassing the varying landmark point sets due to self-occlusion and different landmark protocols. Most existing studies approach this problem via training multiple viewpoint-specific models, and conduct head pose estimation for model selection. This solution is intuitive but the performance is highly susceptible to inaccurate head pose estimation. In this study, we address this shortcoming through learning an Ensemble of Model Recommendation Trees (EMRT), which is capable of selecting optimal model configuration without prior head pose estimation. The unified framework seamlessly handles different viewpoints and landmark protocols, and it is trained by optimising directly on landmark locations, thus yielding superior results on arbitrary-view face alignment. This is the first study that performs face alignment on the full AFLWdataset with faces of different views including profile view. State-of-the-art performances are also reported on MultiPIE and AFW datasets containing both frontaland profile-view faces.

* This is our original submission to ICCV 2015 

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Online Caching with no Regret: Optimistic Learning via Recommendations

Apr 20, 2022
Naram Mhaisen, George Iosifidis, Douglas Leith

The design of effective online caching policies is an increasingly important problem for content distribution networks, online social networks and edge computing services, among other areas. This paper proposes a new algorithmic toolbox for tackling this problem through the lens of optimistic online learning. We build upon the Follow-the-Regularized-Leader (FTRL) framework, which is developed further here to include predictions for the file requests, and we design online caching algorithms for bipartite networks with fixed-size caches or elastic leased caches subject to time-average budget constraints. The predictions are provided by a content recommendation system that influences the users viewing activity and hence can naturally reduce the caching network's uncertainty about future requests. We also extend the framework to learn and utilize the best request predictor in cases where many are available. We prove that the proposed {optimistic} learning caching policies can achieve sub-zero performance loss (regret) for perfect predictions, and maintain the sub-linear regret bound $O(\sqrt T)$, which is the best achievable bound for policies that do not use predictions, even for arbitrary-bad predictions. The performance of the proposed algorithms is evaluated with detailed trace-driven numerical tests.

* arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:2202.10590 

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User-Centric Semi-Automated Infographics Authoring and Recommendation

Aug 27, 2021
Anjul Tyagi, Jian Zhao, Pushkar Patel, Swasti Khurana, Klaus Mueller

Designing infographics can be a tedious process for non-experts and time-consuming even for professional designers. Based on the literature and a formative study, we propose a flexible framework for automated and semi-automated infographics design. This framework captures the main design components in infographics and streamlines the generation workflow into three steps, allowing users to control and optimize each aspect independently. Based on the framework, we also propose an interactive tool, \name{}, for assisting novice designers with creating high-quality infographics from an input in a markdown format by offering recommendations of different design components of infographics. Simultaneously, more experienced designers can provide custom designs and layout ideas to the tool using a canvas to control the automated generation process partially. As part of our work, we also contribute an individual visual group (VG) and connection designs dataset (in SVG), along with a 1k complete infographic image dataset with segmented VGs. This dataset plays a crucial role in diversifying the infographic designs created by our framework. We evaluate our approach with a comparison against similar tools, a user study with novice and expert designers, and a case study. Results confirm that our framework and \name{} excel in creating customized infographics and exploring a large variety of designs.


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Representation Learning for Efficient and Effective Similarity Search and Recommendation

Sep 04, 2021
Casper Hansen

How data is represented and operationalized is critical for building computational solutions that are both effective and efficient. A common approach is to represent data objects as binary vectors, denoted \textit{hash codes}, which require little storage and enable efficient similarity search through direct indexing into a hash table or through similarity computations in an appropriate space. Due to the limited expressibility of hash codes, compared to real-valued representations, a core open challenge is how to generate hash codes that well capture semantic content or latent properties using a small number of bits, while ensuring that the hash codes are distributed in a way that does not reduce their search efficiency. State of the art methods use representation learning for generating such hash codes, focusing on neural autoencoder architectures where semantics are encoded into the hash codes by learning to reconstruct the original inputs of the hash codes. This thesis addresses the above challenge and makes a number of contributions to representation learning that (i) improve effectiveness of hash codes through more expressive representations and a more effective similarity measure than the current state of the art, namely the Hamming distance, and (ii) improve efficiency of hash codes by learning representations that are especially suited to the choice of search method. The contributions are empirically validated on several tasks related to similarity search and recommendation.

* PhD Thesis, School of The Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen 

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Deep Bayesian Multi-Target Learning for Recommender Systems

Feb 25, 2019
Qi Wang, Zhihui Ji, Huasheng Liu, Binqiang Zhao

With the increasing variety of services that e-commerce platforms provide, criteria for evaluating their success become also increasingly multi-targeting. This work introduces a multi-target optimization framework with Bayesian modeling of the target events, called Deep Bayesian Multi-Target Learning (DBMTL). In this framework, target events are modeled as forming a Bayesian network, in which directed links are parameterized by hidden layers, and learned from training samples. The structure of Bayesian network is determined by model selection. We applied the framework to Taobao live-streaming recommendation, to simultaneously optimize (and strike a balance) on targets including click-through rate, user stay time in live room, purchasing behaviors and interactions. Significant improvement has been observed for the proposed method over other MTL frameworks and the non-MTL model. Our practice shows that with an integrated causality structure, we can effectively make the learning of a target benefit from other targets, creating significant synergy effects that improve all targets. The neural network construction guided by DBMTL fits in with the general probabilistic model connecting features and multiple targets, taking weaker assumption than the other methods discussed in this paper. This theoretical generality brings about practical generalization power over various targets distributions, including sparse targets and continuous-value ones.

* 7 pages, Deep Learning, Probabilistic Machine Learning, Recommender System, Multi-task Learning 

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Learning fashion compatibility across apparel categories for outfit recommendation

May 01, 2019
Luisa F. Polania, Satyajit Gupte

This paper addresses the problem of generating recommendations for completing the outfit given that a user is interested in a particular apparel item. The proposed method is based on a siamese network used for feature extraction followed by a fully-connected network used for learning a fashion compatibility metric. The embeddings generated by the siamese network are augmented with color histogram features motivated by the important role that color plays in determining fashion compatibility. The training of the network is formulated as a maximum a posteriori (MAP) problem where Laplacian distributions are assumed for the filters of the siamese network to promote sparsity and matrix-variate normal distributions are assumed for the weights of the metric network to efficiently exploit correlations between the input units of each fully-connected layer.

* Accepted for publication at ICIP 2019 

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Fast Non-Bayesian Poisson Factorization for Implicit-Feedback Recommendations

Nov 05, 2018
David Cortes

This work explores non-negative matrix factorization based on regularized Poisson models for recommender systems with implicit-feedback data. The properties of Poisson likelihood allow a shortcut for very fast computation and optimization over elements with zero-value when the latent-factor matrices are non-negative, making it a more suitable approach than squared loss for very sparse inputs such as implicit-feedback data. A simple and embarrassingly parallel optimization approach based on proximal gradients is presented, which in large datasets converges 2-3 orders of magnitude faster than its Bayesian counterpart (Hierarchical Poisson Factorization) fit through variational inference techniques, and 1 order of magnitude faster than implicit-ALS fit with the Conjugate Gradient method.


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