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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Learning Fair Representations for Bipartite Graph based Recommendation

Feb 22, 2021
Le Wu, Lei Chen, Pengyang Shao, Richang Hong, Xiting Wang, Meng Wang

As a key application of artificial intelligence, recommender systems are among the most pervasive computer aided systems to help users find potential items of interests. Recently, researchers paid considerable attention to fairness issues for artificial intelligence applications. Most of these approaches assumed independence of instances, and designed sophisticated models to eliminate the sensitive information to facilitate fairness. However, recommender systems differ greatly from these approaches as users and items naturally form a user-item bipartite graph, and are collaboratively correlated in the graph structure. In this paper, we propose a novel graph based technique for ensuring fairness of any recommendation models. Here, the fairness requirements refer to not exposing sensitive feature set in the user modeling process. Specifically, given the original embeddings from any recommendation models, we learn a composition of filters that transform each user's and each item's original embeddings into a filtered embedding space based on the sensitive feature set. For each user, this transformation is achieved under the adversarial learning of a user-centric graph, in order to obfuscate each sensitive feature between both the filtered user embedding and the sub graph structures of this user. Finally, extensive experimental results clearly show the effectiveness of our proposed model for fair recommendation. We publish the source code at

* The paper is accepted by WWW 2021 

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Measuring the User Satisfaction in a Recommendation Interface with Multiple Carousels

May 14, 2021
Nicolò Felicioni, Maurizio Ferrari Dacrema, Paolo Cremonesi

It is common for video-on-demand and music streaming services to adopt a user interface composed of several recommendation lists, i.e. widgets or swipeable carousels, each generated according to a specific criterion or algorithm (e.g. most recent, top popular, recommended for you, editors' choice, etc.). Selecting the appropriate combination of carousel has significant impact on user satisfaction. A crucial aspect of this user interface is that to measure the relevance a new carousel for the user it is not sufficient to account solely for its individual quality. Instead, it should be considered that other carousels will already be present in the interface. This is not considered by traditional evaluation protocols for recommenders systems, in which each carousel is evaluated in isolation, regardless of (i) which other carousels are displayed to the user and (ii) the relative position of the carousel with respect to other carousels. Hence, we propose a two-dimensional evaluation protocol for a carousel setting that will measure the quality of a recommendation carousel based on how much it improves upon the quality of an already available set of carousels. Our evaluation protocol takes into account also the position bias, i.e. users do not explore the carousels sequentially, but rather concentrate on the top-left corner of the screen. We report experiments on the movie domain and notice that under a carousel setting the definition of which criteria has to be preferred to generate a list of recommended items changes with respect to what is commonly understood.

* ACM International Conference on Interactive Media Experiences (IMX '21), June 21--23, 2021, Virtual Event, NY, USA 

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Local Citation Recommendation with Hierarchical-Attention Text Encoder and SciBERT-based Reranking

Dec 02, 2021
Nianlong Gu, Yingqiang Gao, Richard H. R. Hahnloser

The goal of local citation recommendation is to recommend a missing reference from the local citation context and optionally also from the global context. To balance the tradeoff between speed and accuracy of citation recommendation in the context of a large-scale paper database, a viable approach is to first prefetch a limited number of relevant documents using efficient ranking methods and then to perform a fine-grained reranking using more sophisticated models. In that vein, BM25 has been found to be a tough-to-beat approach to prefetching, which is why recent work has focused mainly on the reranking step. Even so, we explore prefetching with nearest neighbor search among text embeddings constructed by a hierarchical attention network. When coupled with a SciBERT reranker fine-tuned on local citation recommendation tasks, our hierarchical Attention encoder (HAtten) achieves high prefetch recall for a given number of candidates to be reranked. Consequently, our reranker needs to rerank fewer prefetch candidates, yet still achieves state-of-the-art performance on various local citation recommendation datasets such as ACL-200, FullTextPeerRead, RefSeer, and arXiv.

* Accepted by ECIR 2022: 

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Online certification of preference-based fairness for personalized recommender systems

Apr 29, 2021
Virginie Do, Sam Corbett-Davies, Jamal Atif, Nicolas Usunier

We propose to assess the fairness of personalized recommender systems in the sense of envy-freeness: every (group of) user(s) should prefer their recommendations to the recommendations of other (groups of) users. Auditing for envy-freeness requires probing user preferences to detect potential blind spots, which may deteriorate recommendation performance. To control the cost of exploration, we propose an auditing algorithm based on pure exploration and conservative constraints in multi-armed bandits. We study, both theoretically and empirically, the trade-offs achieved by this algorithm.

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On-Device User Intent Prediction for Context and Sequence Aware Recommendation

Sep 18, 2019
Benu Madhab Changmai, Divija Nagaraju, Debi Prasanna Mohanty, Kriti Singh, Kunal Bansal, Sukumar Moharana

The pursuit of improved accuracy in recommender systems has led to the incorporation of user context. Context-aware recommender systems typically handle large amounts of data which must be uploaded and stored on the cloud, putting the user's personal information at risk. While there have been previous studies on privacy-sensitive and context-aware recommender systems, there has not been a full-fledged system deployed in an isolated mobile environment. We propose a secure and efficient on-device mechanism to predict a user's next intention. The knowledge of the user's real-time intention can help recommender systems to provide more relevant recommendations at the right moment. Our proposed algorithm is both context and sequence aware. We embed user intentions as weighted nodes in an n-dimensional vector space where each dimension represents a specific user context factor. Through a neighborhood searching method followed by a sequence matching algorithm, we search for the most relevant node to make the prediction. An evaluation of our methodology was done on a diverse real-world dataset where it was able to address practical scenarios like behavior drifts and sequential patterns efficiently and robustly. Our system also outperformed most of the state-of-the-art methods when evaluated for a similar problem domain on standard datasets.

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Addressing Confounding Feature Issue for Causal Recommendation

May 13, 2022
Xiangnan He, Yang Zhang, Fuli Feng, Chonggang Song, Lingling Yi, Guohui Ling, Yongdong Zhang

In recommender system, some feature directly affects whether an interaction would happen, making the happened interactions not necessarily indicate user preference. For instance, short videos are objectively easier to be finished even though the user does not like the video. We term such feature as confounding feature, and video length is a confounding feature in video recommendation. If we fit a model on such interaction data, just as done by most data-driven recommender systems, the model will be biased to recommend short videos more, and deviate from user actual requirement. This work formulates and addresses the problem from the causal perspective. Assuming there are some factors affecting both the confounding feature and other item features, e.g., the video creator, we find the confounding feature opens a backdoor path behind user item matching and introduces spurious correlation. To remove the effect of backdoor path, we propose a framework named Deconfounding Causal Recommendation (DCR), which performs intervened inference with do-calculus. Nevertheless, evaluating do calculus requires to sum over the prediction on all possible values of confounding feature, significantly increasing the time cost. To address the efficiency challenge, we further propose a mixture-of experts (MoE) model architecture, modeling each value of confounding feature with a separate expert module. Through this way, we retain the model expressiveness with few additional costs. We demonstrate DCR on the backbone model of neural factorization machine (NFM), showing that DCR leads to more accurate prediction of user preference with small inference time cost.

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Ask the GRU: Multi-Task Learning for Deep Text Recommendations

Sep 09, 2016
Trapit Bansal, David Belanger, Andrew McCallum

In a variety of application domains the content to be recommended to users is associated with text. This includes research papers, movies with associated plot summaries, news articles, blog posts, etc. Recommendation approaches based on latent factor models can be extended naturally to leverage text by employing an explicit mapping from text to factors. This enables recommendations for new, unseen content, and may generalize better, since the factors for all items are produced by a compactly-parametrized model. Previous work has used topic models or averages of word embeddings for this mapping. In this paper we present a method leveraging deep recurrent neural networks to encode the text sequence into a latent vector, specifically gated recurrent units (GRUs) trained end-to-end on the collaborative filtering task. For the task of scientific paper recommendation, this yields models with significantly higher accuracy. In cold-start scenarios, we beat the previous state-of-the-art, all of which ignore word order. Performance is further improved by multi-task learning, where the text encoder network is trained for a combination of content recommendation and item metadata prediction. This regularizes the collaborative filtering model, ameliorating the problem of sparsity of the observed rating matrix.

* 8 pages 

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Exact-K Recommendation via Maximal Clique Optimization

May 17, 2019
Yu Gong, Yu Zhu, Lu Duan, Qingwen Liu, Ziyu Guan, Fei Sun, Wenwu Ou, Kenny Q. Zhu

This paper targets to a novel but practical recommendation problem named exact-K recommendation. It is different from traditional top-K recommendation, as it focuses more on (constrained) combinatorial optimization which will optimize to recommend a whole set of K items called card, rather than ranking optimization which assumes that "better" items should be put into top positions. Thus we take the first step to give a formal problem definition, and innovatively reduce it to Maximum Clique Optimization based on graph. To tackle this specific combinatorial optimization problem which is NP-hard, we propose Graph Attention Networks (GAttN) with a Multi-head Self-attention encoder and a decoder with attention mechanism. It can end-to-end learn the joint distribution of the K items and generate an optimal card rather than rank individual items by prediction scores. Then we propose Reinforcement Learning from Demonstrations (RLfD) which combines the advantages in behavior cloning and reinforcement learning, making it sufficient- and-efficient to train the model. Extensive experiments on three datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed GAttN with RLfD method, it outperforms several strong baselines with a relative improvement of 7.7% and 4.7% on average in Precision and Hit Ratio respectively, and achieves state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance for the exact-K recommendation problem.

* SIGKDD 2019 

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Lightweight Compositional Embeddings for Incremental Streaming Recommendation

Feb 04, 2022
Mengyue Hang, Tobias Schnabel, Longqi Yang, Jennifer Neville

Most work in graph-based recommender systems considers a {\em static} setting where all information about test nodes (i.e., users and items) is available upfront at training time. However, this static setting makes little sense for many real-world applications where data comes in continuously as a stream of new edges and nodes, and one has to update model predictions incrementally to reflect the latest state. To fully capitalize on the newly available data in the stream, recent graph-based recommendation models would need to be repeatedly retrained, which is infeasible in practice. In this paper, we study the graph-based streaming recommendation setting and propose a compositional recommendation model -- Lightweight Compositional Embedding (LCE) -- that supports incremental updates under low computational cost. Instead of learning explicit embeddings for the full set of nodes, LCE learns explicit embeddings for only a subset of nodes and represents the other nodes {\em implicitly}, through a composition function based on their interactions in the graph. This provides an effective, yet efficient, means to leverage streaming graph data when one node type (e.g., items) is more amenable to static representation. We conduct an extensive empirical study to compare LCE to a set of competitive baselines on three large-scale user-item recommendation datasets with interactions under a streaming setting. The results demonstrate the superior performance of LCE, showing that it achieves nearly skyline performance with significantly fewer parameters than alternative graph-based models.

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