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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Graph Trend Networks for Recommendations

Aug 12, 2021
Wenqi Fan, Xiaorui Liu, Wei Jin, Xiangyu Zhao, Jiliang Tang, Qing Li

Recommender systems aim to provide personalized services to users and are playing an increasingly important role in our daily lives. The key of recommender systems is to predict how likely users will interact with items based on their historical online behaviors, e.g., clicks, add-to-cart, purchases, etc. To exploit these user-item interactions, there are increasing efforts on considering the user-item interactions as a user-item bipartite graph and then performing information propagation in the graph via Graph Neural Networks (GNNs). Given the power of GNNs in graph representation learning, these GNN-based recommendation methods have remarkably boosted the recommendation performance. Despite their success, most existing GNN-based recommender systems overlook the existence of interactions caused by unreliable behaviors (e.g., random/bait clicks) and uniformly treat all the interactions, which can lead to sub-optimal and unstable performance. In this paper, we investigate the drawbacks (e.g., non-adaptive propagation and non-robustness) of existing GNN-based recommendation methods. To address these drawbacks, we propose the Graph Trend Networks for recommendations (GTN) with principled designs that can capture the adaptive reliability of the interactions. Comprehensive experiments and ablation studies are presented to verify and understand the effectiveness of the proposed framework. Our implementation and datasets can be released after publication.


A two-level solution to fight against dishonest opinions in recommendation-based trust systems

Jun 09, 2020
Omar Abdel Wahab, Jamal Bentahar, Robin Cohen, Hadi Otrok, Azzam Mourad

In this paper, we propose a mechanism to deal with dishonest opinions in recommendation-based trust models, at both the collection and processing levels. We consider a scenario in which an agent requests recommendations from multiple parties to build trust toward another agent. At the collection level, we propose to allow agents to self-assess the accuracy of their recommendations and autonomously decide on whether they would participate in the recommendation process or not. At the processing level, we propose a recommendations aggregation technique that is resilient to collusion attacks, followed by a credibility update mechanism for the participating agents. The originality of our work stems from its consideration of dishonest opinions at both the collection and processing levels, which allows for better and more persistent protection against dishonest recommenders. Experiments conducted on the Epinions dataset show that our solution yields better performance in protecting the recommendation process against Sybil attacks, in comparison with a competing model that derives the optimal network of advisors based on the agents' trust values.

* 12 pages 

Recommendation as Language Processing (RLP): A Unified Pretrain, Personalized Prompt & Predict Paradigm (P5)

Apr 06, 2022
Shijie Geng, Shuchang Liu, Zuohui Fu, Yingqiang Ge, Yongfeng Zhang

For a long period, different recommendation tasks typically require designing task-specific architectures and training objectives. As a result, it is hard to transfer the learned knowledge and representations from one task to another, thus restricting the generalization ability of existing recommendation approaches, e.g., a sequential recommendation model can hardly be applied or transferred to a review generation method. To deal with such issues, considering that language grounding is a powerful medium to describe and represent various problems or tasks, we present a flexible and unified text-to-text paradigm called "Pretrain, Personalized Prompt, and Predict Paradigm" (P5) for recommendation, which unifies various recommendation tasks in a shared framework. In P5, all data such as user-item interactions, item metadata, and user reviews are converted to a common format -- natural language sequences. The rich information from natural language assist P5 to capture deeper semantics for recommendation. P5 learns different tasks with the same language modeling objective during pretraining. Thus, it possesses the potential to serve as the foundation model for downstream recommendation tasks, allows easy integration with other modalities, and enables instruction-based recommendation, which will revolutionize the technical form of recommender system towards universal recommendation engine. With adaptive personalized prompt for different users, P5 is able to make predictions in a zero-shot or few-shot manner and largely reduces the necessity for extensive fine-tuning. On several recommendation benchmarks, we conduct experiments to show the effectiveness of our generative approach. We will release our prompts and pretrained P5 language model to help advance future research on Recommendation as Language Processing (RLP) and Personalized Foundation Models.


A Survey on Reinforcement Learning for Recommender Systems

Sep 22, 2021
Yuanguo Lin, Yong Liu, Fan Lin, Pengcheng Wu, Wenhua Zeng, Chunyan Miao

Recommender systems have been widely applied in different real-life scenarios to help us find useful information. Recently, Reinforcement Learning (RL) based recommender systems have become an emerging research topic. It often surpasses traditional recommendation models even most deep learning-based methods, owing to its interactive nature and autonomous learning ability. Nevertheless, there are various challenges of RL when applying in recommender systems. Toward this end, we firstly provide a thorough overview, comparisons, and summarization of RL approaches for five typical recommendation scenarios, following three main categories of RL: value-function, policy search, and Actor-Critic. Then, we systematically analyze the challenges and relevant solutions on the basis of existing literature. Finally, under discussion for open issues of RL and its limitations of recommendation, we highlight some potential research directions in this field.

* 25 pages, 4 figures 

Feature-aware Diversified Re-ranking with Disentangled Representations for Relevant Recommendation

Jun 10, 2022
Zihan Lin, Hui Wang, Jingshu Mao, Wayne Xin Zhao, Cheng Wang, Peng Jiang, Ji-Rong Wen

Relevant recommendation is a special recommendation scenario which provides relevant items when users express interests on one target item (e.g., click, like and purchase). Besides considering the relevance between recommendations and trigger item, the recommendations should also be diversified to avoid information cocoons. However, existing diversified recommendation methods mainly focus on item-level diversity which is insufficient when the recommended items are all relevant to the target item. Moreover, redundant or noisy item features might affect the performance of simple feature-aware recommendation approaches. Faced with these issues, we propose a Feature Disentanglement Self-Balancing Re-ranking framework (FDSB) to capture feature-aware diversity. The framework consists of two major modules, namely disentangled attention encoder (DAE) and self-balanced multi-aspect ranker. In DAE, we use multi-head attention to learn disentangled aspects from rich item features. In the ranker, we develop an aspect-specific ranking mechanism that is able to adaptively balance the relevance and diversity for each aspect. In experiments, we conduct offline evaluation on the collected dataset and deploy FDSB on KuaiShou app for online A/B test on the function of relevant recommendation. The significant improvements on both recommendation quality and user experience verify the effectiveness of our approach.

* 10 pages, 5 figures, Accepted by SIGKDD 2022 Applied Data Science Track 

Link Prediction Approach to Recommender Systems

Feb 18, 2021
T. Jaya Lakshmi, S. Durga Bhavani

The problem of recommender system is very popular with myriad available solutions. A novel approach that uses the link prediction problem in social networks has been proposed in the literature that model the typical user-item information as a bipartite network in which link prediction would actually mean recommending an item to a user. The standard recommender system methods suffer from the problems of sparsity and scalability. Since link prediction measures involve computations pertaining to small neighborhoods in the network, this approach would lead to a scalable solution to recommendation. One of the issues in this conversion is that link prediction problem is modelled as a binary classification task whereas the problem of recommender systems is solved as a regression task in which the rating of the link is to be predicted. We overcome this issue by predicting top k links as recommendations with high ratings without predicting the actual rating. Our work extends similar approaches in the literature by focusing on exploiting the probabilistic measures for link prediction. Moreover, in the proposed approach, prediction measures that utilize temporal information available on the links prove to be more effective in improving the accuracy of prediction. This approach is evaluated on the benchmark 'Movielens' dataset. We show that the usage of temporal probabilistic measures helps in improving the quality of recommendations. Temporal random-walk based measure T_Flow improves recommendation accuracy by 4% and Temporal cooccurrence probability measure improves prediction accuracy by 10% over item-based collaborative filtering method in terms of AUROC score.

* Preprint 

Attribute-aware Explainable Complementary Clothing Recommendation

Jul 04, 2021
Yang Li, Tong Chen, Zi Huang

Modelling mix-and-match relationships among fashion items has become increasingly demanding yet challenging for modern E-commerce recommender systems. When performing clothes matching, most existing approaches leverage the latent visual features extracted from fashion item images for compatibility modelling, which lacks explainability of generated matching results and can hardly convince users of the recommendations. Though recent methods start to incorporate pre-defined attribute information (e.g., colour, style, length, etc.) for learning item representations and improving the model interpretability, their utilisation of attribute information is still mainly reserved for enhancing the learned item representations and generating explanations via post-processing. As a result, this creates a severe bottleneck when we are trying to advance the recommendation accuracy and generating fine-grained explanations since the explicit attributes have only loose connections to the actual recommendation process. This work aims to tackle the explainability challenge in fashion recommendation tasks by proposing a novel Attribute-aware Fashion Recommender (AFRec). Specifically, AFRec recommender assesses the outfit compatibility by explicitly leveraging the extracted attribute-level representations from each item's visual feature. The attributes serve as the bridge between two fashion items, where we quantify the affinity of a pair of items through the learned compatibility between their attributes. Extensive experiments have demonstrated that, by making full use of the explicit attributes in the recommendation process, AFRec is able to achieve state-of-the-art recommendation accuracy and generate intuitive explanations at the same time.


Quantitative analysis of Matthew effect and sparsity problem of recommender systems

Sep 24, 2019
Hao Wang, Zonghu Wang, Weishi Zhang

Recommender systems have received great commercial success. Recommendation has been used widely in areas such as e-commerce, online music FM, online news portal, etc. However, several problems related to input data structure pose serious challenge to recommender system performance. Two of these problems are Matthew effect and sparsity problem. Matthew effect heavily skews recommender system output towards popular items. Data sparsity problem directly affects the coverage of recommendation result. Collaborative filtering is a simple benchmark ubiquitously adopted in the industry as the baseline for recommender system design. Understanding the underlying mechanism of collaborative filtering is crucial for further optimization. In this paper, we do a thorough quantitative analysis on Matthew effect and sparsity problem in the particular context setting of collaborative filtering. We compare the underlying mechanism of user-based and item-based collaborative filtering and give insight to industrial recommender system builders.


Rethinking Reinforcement Learning for Recommendation: A Prompt Perspective

Jun 15, 2022
Xin Xin, Tiago Pimentel, Alexandros Karatzoglou, Pengjie Ren, Konstantina Christakopoulou, Zhaochun Ren

Modern recommender systems aim to improve user experience. As reinforcement learning (RL) naturally fits this objective -- maximizing an user's reward per session -- it has become an emerging topic in recommender systems. Developing RL-based recommendation methods, however, is not trivial due to the \emph{offline training challenge}. Specifically, the keystone of traditional RL is to train an agent with large amounts of online exploration making lots of `errors' in the process. In the recommendation setting, though, we cannot afford the price of making `errors' online. As a result, the agent needs to be trained through offline historical implicit feedback, collected under different recommendation policies; traditional RL algorithms may lead to sub-optimal policies under these offline training settings. Here we propose a new learning paradigm -- namely Prompt-Based Reinforcement Learning (PRL) -- for the offline training of RL-based recommendation agents. While traditional RL algorithms attempt to map state-action input pairs to their expected rewards (e.g., Q-values), PRL directly infers actions (i.e., recommended items) from state-reward inputs. In short, the agents are trained to predict a recommended item given the prior interactions and an observed reward value -- with simple supervised learning. At deployment time, this historical (training) data acts as a knowledge base, while the state-reward pairs are used as a prompt. The agents are thus used to answer the question: \emph{ Which item should be recommended given the prior interactions \& the prompted reward value}? We implement PRL with four notable recommendation models and conduct experiments on two real-world e-commerce datasets. Experimental results demonstrate the superior performance of our proposed methods.


Next-item Recommendations in Short Sessions

Jul 20, 2021
Wenzhuo Song, Shoujin Wang, Yan Wang, Shengsheng Wang

The changing preferences of users towards items trigger the emergence of session-based recommender systems (SBRSs), which aim to model the dynamic preferences of users for next-item recommendations. However, most of the existing studies on SBRSs are based on long sessions only for recommendations, ignoring short sessions, though short sessions, in fact, account for a large proportion in most of the real-world datasets. As a result, the applicability of existing SBRSs solutions is greatly reduced. In a short session, quite limited contextual information is available, making the next-item recommendation very challenging. To this end, in this paper, inspired by the success of few-shot learning (FSL) in effectively learning a model with limited instances, we formulate the next-item recommendation as an FSL problem. Accordingly, following the basic idea of a representative approach for FSL, i.e., meta-learning, we devise an effective SBRS called INter-SEssion collaborative Recommender netTwork (INSERT) for next-item recommendations in short sessions. With the carefully devised local module and global module, INSERT is able to learn an optimal preference representation of the current user in a given short session. In particular, in the global module, a similar session retrieval network (SSRN) is designed to find out the sessions similar to the current short session from the historical sessions of both the current user and other users, respectively. The obtained similar sessions are then utilized to complement and optimize the preference representation learned from the current short session by the local module for more accurate next-item recommendations in this short session. Extensive experiments conducted on two real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of our proposed INSERT over the state-of-the-art SBRSs when making next-item recommendations in short sessions.

* This paper has been accepted by ACM RecSys'21