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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

A Soft Recommender System for Social Networks

Jan 08, 2020
Marzieh Pourhojjati-Sabet, Azam Rabiee

Recent social recommender systems benefit from friendship graph to make an accurate recommendation, believing that friends in a social network have exactly the same interests and preferences. Some studies have benefited from hard clustering algorithms (such as K-means) to determine the similarity between users and consequently to define degree of friendships. In this paper, we went a step further to identify true friends for making even more realistic recommendations. we calculated the similarity between users, as well as the dependency between a user and an item. Our hypothesis is that due to the uncertainties in user preferences, the fuzzy clustering, instead of the classical hard clustering, is beneficial in accurate recommendations. We incorporated the C-means algorithm to get different membership degrees of soft users' clusters. Then, the users' similarity metric is defined according to the soft clusters. Later, in a training scheme we determined the latent representations of users and items, extracting from the huge and sparse user-item-tag matrix using matrix factorization. In the parameter tuning, we found the optimum coefficients for the influence of our soft social regularization and the user-item dependency terms. Our experimental results convinced that the proposed fuzzy similarity metric improves the recommendations in real data compared to the baseline social recommender system with the hard clustering.

* 8 pages, 6 figures 

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DeSkew-LSH based Code-to-Code Recommendation Engine

Nov 05, 2021
Fran Silavong, Sean Moran, Antonios Georgiadis, Rohan Saphal, Robert Otter

Machine learning on source code (MLOnCode) is a popular research field that has been driven by the availability of large-scale code repositories and the development of powerful probabilistic and deep learning models for mining source code. Code-to-code recommendation is a task in MLOnCode that aims to recommend relevant, diverse and concise code snippets that usefully extend the code currently being written by a developer in their development environment (IDE). Code-to-code recommendation engines hold the promise of increasing developer productivity by reducing context switching from the IDE and increasing code-reuse. Existing code-to-code recommendation engines do not scale gracefully to large codebases, exhibiting a linear growth in query time as the code repository increases in size. In addition, existing code-to-code recommendation engines fail to account for the global statistics of code repositories in the ranking function, such as the distribution of code snippet lengths, leading to sub-optimal retrieval results. We address both of these weaknesses with \emph{Senatus}, a new code-to-code recommendation engine. At the core of Senatus is \emph{De-Skew} LSH a new locality sensitive hashing (LSH) algorithm that indexes the data for fast (sub-linear time) retrieval while also counteracting the skewness in the snippet length distribution using novel abstract syntax tree-based feature scoring and selection algorithms. We evaluate Senatus via automatic evaluation and with an expert developer user study and find the recommendations to be of higher quality than competing baselines, while achieving faster search. For example, on the CodeSearchNet dataset we show that Senatus improves performance by 6.7\% F1 and query time 16x is faster compared to Facebook Aroma on the task of code-to-code recommendation.

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Towards Topic-Guided Conversational Recommender System

Oct 08, 2020
Kun Zhou, Yuanhang Zhou, Wayne Xin Zhao, Xiaoke Wang, Ji-Rong Wen

Conversational recommender systems (CRS) aim to recommend high-quality items to users through interactive conversations. To develop an effective CRS, the support of high-quality datasets is essential. Existing CRS datasets mainly focus on immediate requests from users, while lack proactive guidance to the recommendation scenario. In this paper, we contribute a new CRS dataset named \textbf{TG-ReDial} (\textbf{Re}commendation through \textbf{T}opic-\textbf{G}uided \textbf{Dial}og). Our dataset has two major features. First, it incorporates topic threads to enforce natural semantic transitions towards the recommendation scenario. Second, it is created in a semi-automatic way, hence human annotation is more reasonable and controllable. Based on TG-ReDial, we present the task of topic-guided conversational recommendation, and propose an effective approach to this task. Extensive experiments have demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach on three sub-tasks, namely topic prediction, item recommendation and response generation. TG-ReDial is available at

* 12 pages, Accepted by Coling2020 

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Regret in Online Recommendation Systems

Oct 23, 2020
Kaito Ariu, Narae Ryu, Se-Young Yun, Alexandre Proutière

This paper proposes a theoretical analysis of recommendation systems in an online setting, where items are sequentially recommended to users over time. In each round, a user, randomly picked from a population of $m$ users, requests a recommendation. The decision-maker observes the user and selects an item from a catalogue of $n$ items. Importantly, an item cannot be recommended twice to the same user. The probabilities that a user likes each item are unknown. The performance of the recommendation algorithm is captured through its regret, considering as a reference an Oracle algorithm aware of these probabilities. We investigate various structural assumptions on these probabilities: we derive for each structure regret lower bounds, and devise algorithms achieving these limits. Interestingly, our analysis reveals the relative weights of the different components of regret: the component due to the constraint of not presenting the same item twice to the same user, that due to learning the chances users like items, and finally that arising when learning the underlying structure.

* Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2020) 

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Explicit User Manipulation in Reinforcement Learning Based Recommender Systems

Mar 20, 2022
Matthew Sparr

Recommender systems are highly prevalent in the modern world due to their value to both users and platforms and services that employ them. Generally, they can improve the user experience and help to increase satisfaction, but they do not come without risks. One such risk is that of their effect on users and their ability to play an active role in shaping user preferences. This risk is more significant for reinforcement learning based recommender systems. These are capable of learning for instance, how recommended content shown to a user today may tamper that user's preference for other content recommended in the future. Reinforcement learning based recommendation systems can thus implicitly learn to influence users if that means maximizing clicks, engagement, or consumption. On social news and media platforms, in particular, this type of behavior is cause for alarm. Social media undoubtedly plays a role in public opinion and has been shown to be a contributing factor to increased political polarization. Recommender systems on such platforms, therefore, have great potential to influence users in undesirable ways. However, it may also be possible for this form of manipulation to be used intentionally. With advancements in political opinion dynamics modeling and larger collections of user data, explicit user manipulation in which the beliefs and opinions of users are tailored towards a certain end emerges as a significant concern in reinforcement learning based recommender systems.

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Unintended Bias in Language Model-driven Conversational Recommendation

Jan 19, 2022
Tianshu Shen, Jiaru Li, Mohamed Reda Bouadjenek, Zheda Mai, Scott Sanner

Conversational Recommendation Systems (CRSs) have recently started to leverage pretrained language models (LM) such as BERT for their ability to semantically interpret a wide range of preference statement variations. However, pretrained LMs are well-known to be prone to intrinsic biases in their training data, which may be exacerbated by biases embedded in domain-specific language data(e.g., user reviews) used to fine-tune LMs for CRSs. We study a recently introduced LM-driven recommendation backbone (termed LMRec) of a CRS to investigate how unintended bias i.e., language variations such as name references or indirect indicators of sexual orientation or location that should not affect recommendations manifests in significantly shifted price and category distributions of restaurant recommendations. The alarming results we observe strongly indicate that LMRec has learned to reinforce harmful stereotypes through its recommendations. For example, offhand mention of names associated with the black community significantly lowers the price distribution of recommended restaurants, while offhand mentions of common male-associated names lead to an increase in recommended alcohol-serving establishments. These and many related results presented in this work raise a red flag that advances in the language handling capability of LM-drivenCRSs do not come without significant challenges related to mitigating unintended bias in future deployed CRS assistants with a potential reach of hundreds of millions of end-users.

* 12 pages, 7 figures 

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False Negative Distillation and Contrastive Learning for Personalized Outfit Recommendation

Oct 13, 2021
Seongjae Kim, Jinseok Seol, Holim Lim, Sang-goo Lee

Personalized outfit recommendation has recently been in the spotlight with the rapid growth of the online fashion industry. However, recommending outfits has two significant challenges that should be addressed. The first challenge is that outfit recommendation often requires a complex and large model that utilizes visual information, incurring huge memory and time costs. One natural way to mitigate this problem is to compress such a cumbersome model with knowledge distillation (KD) techniques that leverage knowledge from a pretrained teacher model. However, it is hard to apply existing KD approaches in recommender systems (RS) to the outfit recommendation because they require the ranking of all possible outfits while the number of outfits grows exponentially to the number of consisting clothing items. Therefore, we propose a new KD framework for outfit recommendation, called False Negative Distillation (FND), which exploits false-negative information from the teacher model while not requiring the ranking of all candidates. The second challenge is that the explosive number of outfit candidates amplifying the data sparsity problem, often leading to poor outfit representation. To tackle this issue, inspired by the recent success of contrastive learning (CL), we introduce a CL framework for outfit representation learning with two proposed data augmentation methods. Quantitative and qualitative experiments on outfit recommendation datasets demonstrate the effectiveness and soundness of our proposed methods.

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Recommending Research Papers to Chemists: A Specialized Interface for Chemical Entity Exploration

May 11, 2022
Corinna Breitinger, Kay Herklotz, Tim Flegelskamp, Norman Meuschke

Researchers and scientists increasingly rely on specialized information retrieval (IR) or recommendation systems (RS) to support them in their daily research tasks. Paper recommender systems are one such tool scientists use to stay on top of the ever-increasing number of academic publications in their field. Improving research paper recommender systems is an active research field. However, less research has focused on how the interfaces of research paper recommender systems can be tailored to suit the needs of different research domains. For example, in the field of biomedicine and chemistry, researchers are not only interested in textual relevance but may also want to discover or compare the contained chemical entity information found in a paper's full text. Existing recommender systems for academic literature do not support the discovery of this non-textual, but semantically valuable, chemical entity data. We present the first implementation of a specialized chemistry paper recommender system capable of visualizing the contained chemical structures, chemical formulae, and synonyms for chemical compounds within the document's full text. We review existing tools and related research in this field before describing the implementation of our ChemVis system. With the help of chemists, we are expanding the functionality of ChemVis, and will perform an evaluation of recommendation performance and usability in future work.

* Author's preprint version. Final publication to appear in Proceedings of ACM/IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (JCDL'22) 

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Joint Optimization of Tree-based Index and Deep Model for Recommender Systems

Feb 19, 2019
Han Zhu, Daqing Chang, Ziru Xu, Pengye Zhang, Xiang Li, Jie He, Han Li, Jian Xu, Kun Gai

Large-scale industrial recommender systems are usually confronted with computational problems due to the enormous corpus size. To retrieve and recommend the most relevant items to users under response time limits, resorting to an efficient index structure is an effective and practical solution. Tree-based Deep Model (TDM) for recommendation \cite{zhu2018learning} greatly improves recommendation accuracy using tree index. By indexing items in a tree hierarchy and training a user-node preference prediction model satisfying a max-heap like property in the tree, TDM provides logarithmic computational complexity w.r.t. the corpus size, enabling the use of arbitrary advanced models in candidate retrieval and recommendation. In tree-based recommendation methods, the quality of both the tree index and the trained user preference prediction model determines the recommendation accuracy for the most part. We argue that the learning of tree index and user preference model has interdependence. Our purpose, in this paper, is to develop a method to jointly learn the index structure and user preference prediction model. In our proposed joint optimization framework, the learning of index and user preference prediction model are carried out under a unified performance measure. Besides, we come up with a novel hierarchical user preference representation utilizing the tree index hierarchy. Experimental evaluations with two large-scale real-world datasets show that the proposed method improves recommendation accuracy significantly. Online A/B test results at Taobao display advertising also demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed method in production environments.

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Determinantal Point Process Likelihoods for Sequential Recommendation

Apr 25, 2022
Yuli Liu, Christian Walder, Lexing Xie

Sequential recommendation is a popular task in academic research and close to real-world application scenarios, where the goal is to predict the next action(s) of the user based on his/her previous sequence of actions. In the training process of recommender systems, the loss function plays an essential role in guiding the optimization of recommendation models to generate accurate suggestions for users. However, most existing sequential recommendation techniques focus on designing algorithms or neural network architectures, and few efforts have been made to tailor loss functions that fit naturally into the practical application scenario of sequential recommender systems. Ranking-based losses, such as cross-entropy and Bayesian Personalized Ranking (BPR) are widely used in the sequential recommendation area. We argue that such objective functions suffer from two inherent drawbacks: i) the dependencies among elements of a sequence are overlooked in these loss formulations; ii) instead of balancing accuracy (quality) and diversity, only generating accurate results has been over emphasized. We therefore propose two new loss functions based on the Determinantal Point Process (DPP) likelihood, that can be adaptively applied to estimate the subsequent item or items. The DPP-distributed item set captures natural dependencies among temporal actions, and a quality vs. diversity decomposition of the DPP kernel pushes us to go beyond accuracy-oriented loss functions. Experimental results using the proposed loss functions on three real-world datasets show marked improvements over state-of-the-art sequential recommendation methods in both quality and diversity metrics.

* accepted at ACM SIGIR 2022 

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