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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

Predictive and Contrastive: Dual-Auxiliary Learning for Recommendation

Mar 08, 2022
Yinghui Tao, Min Gao, Junliang Yu, Zongwei Wang, Qingyu Xiong, Xu Wang

Self-supervised learning (SSL) recently has achieved outstanding success on recommendation. By setting up an auxiliary task (either predictive or contrastive), SSL can discover supervisory signals from the raw data without human annotation, which greatly mitigates the problem of sparse user-item interactions. However, most SSL-based recommendation models rely on general-purpose auxiliary tasks, e.g., maximizing correspondence between node representations learned from the original and perturbed interaction graphs, which are explicitly irrelevant to the recommendation task. Accordingly, the rich semantics reflected by social relationships and item categories, which lie in the recommendation data-based heterogeneous graphs, are not fully exploited. To explore recommendation-specific auxiliary tasks, we first quantitatively analyze the heterogeneous interaction data and find a strong positive correlation between the interactions and the number of user-item paths induced by meta-paths. Based on the finding, we design two auxiliary tasks that are tightly coupled with the target task (one is predictive and the other one is contrastive) towards connecting recommendation with the self-supervision signals hiding in the positive correlation. Finally, a model-agnostic DUal-Auxiliary Learning (DUAL) framework which unifies the SSL and recommendation tasks is developed. The extensive experiments conducted on three real-world datasets demonstrate that DUAL can significantly improve recommendation, reaching the state-of-the-art performance.


Learning to Ask Appropriate Questions in Conversational Recommendation

May 11, 2021
Xuhui Ren, Hongzhi Yin, Tong Chen, Hao Wang, Zi Huang, Kai Zheng

Conversational recommender systems (CRSs) have revolutionized the conventional recommendation paradigm by embracing dialogue agents to dynamically capture the fine-grained user preference. In a typical conversational recommendation scenario, a CRS firstly generates questions to let the user clarify her/his demands and then makes suitable recommendations. Hence, the ability to generate suitable clarifying questions is the key to timely tracing users' dynamic preferences and achieving successful recommendations. However, existing CRSs fall short in asking high-quality questions because: (1) system-generated responses heavily depends on the performance of the dialogue policy agent, which has to be trained with huge conversation corpus to cover all circumstances; and (2) current CRSs cannot fully utilize the learned latent user profiles for generating appropriate and personalized responses. To mitigate these issues, we propose the Knowledge-Based Question Generation System (KBQG), a novel framework for conversational recommendation. Distinct from previous conversational recommender systems, KBQG models a user's preference in a finer granularity by identifying the most relevant relations from a structured knowledge graph (KG). Conditioned on the varied importance of different relations, the generated clarifying questions could perform better in impelling users to provide more details on their preferences. Finially, accurate recommendations can be generated in fewer conversational turns. Furthermore, the proposed KBQG outperforms all baselines in our experiments on two real-world datasets.

* to be published in SIGIR'2021 

Convolutional Gaussian Embeddings for Personalized Recommendation with Uncertainty

Jun 19, 2020
Junyang Jiang, Deqing Yang, Yanghua Xiao, Chenlu Shen

Most of existing embedding based recommendation models use embeddings (vectors) corresponding to a single fixed point in low-dimensional space, to represent users and items. Such embeddings fail to precisely represent the users/items with uncertainty often observed in recommender systems. Addressing this problem, we propose a unified deep recommendation framework employing Gaussian embeddings, which are proven adaptive to uncertain preferences exhibited by some users, resulting in better user representations and recommendation performance. Furthermore, our framework adopts Monte-Carlo sampling and convolutional neural networks to compute the correlation between the objective user and the candidate item, based on which precise recommendations are achieved. Our extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets not only justify that our proposed Gaussian embeddings capture the uncertainty of users very well, but also demonstrate its superior performance over the state-of-the-art recommendation models.

* IJCAI 2019 

Embedding Ranking-Oriented Recommender System Graphs

Jul 31, 2020
Taher Hekmatfar, Saman Haratizadeh, Sama Goliaei

Graph-based recommender systems (GRSs) analyze the structural information in the graphical representation of data to make better recommendations, especially when the direct user-item relation data is sparse. Ranking-oriented GRSs that form a major class of recommendation systems, mostly use the graphical representation of preference (or rank) data for measuring node similarities, from which they can infer a recommendation list using a neighborhood-based mechanism. In this paper, we propose PGRec, a novel graph-based ranking-oriented recommendation framework. PGRec models the preferences of the users over items, by a novel graph structure called PrefGraph. This graph is then exploited by an improved embedding approach, taking advantage of both factorization and deep learning methods, to extract vectors representing users, items, and preferences. The resulting embedding are then used for predicting users' unknown pairwise preferences from which the final recommendation lists are inferred. We have evaluated the performance of the proposed method against the state of the art model-based and neighborhood-based recommendation methods, and our experiments show that PGRec outperforms the baseline algorithms up to 3.2% in terms of [email protected] in different MovieLens datasets.


TFROM: A Two-sided Fairness-Aware Recommendation Model for Both Customers and Providers

Apr 19, 2021
Yao Wu, Jian Cao, Guandong Xu, Yudong Tan

At present, most research on the fairness of recommender systems is conducted either from the perspective of customers or from the perspective of product (or service) providers. However, such a practice ignores the fact that when fairness is guaranteed to one side, the fairness and rights of the other side are likely to reduce. In this paper, we consider recommendation scenarios from the perspective of two sides (customers and providers). From the perspective of providers, we consider the fairness of the providers' exposure in recommender system. For customers, we consider the fairness of the reduced quality of recommendation results due to the introduction of fairness measures. We theoretically analyzed the relationship between recommendation quality, customers fairness, and provider fairness, and design a two-sided fairness-aware recommendation model (TFROM) for both customers and providers. Specifically, we design two versions of TFROM for offline and online recommendation. The effectiveness of the model is verified on three real-world data sets. The experimental results show that TFROM provides better two-sided fairness while still maintaining a higher level of personalization than the baseline algorithms.

* The 44th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval 

Improving Accuracy and Diversity in Matching of Recommendation with Diversified Preference Network

Feb 07, 2021
Ruobing Xie, Qi Liu, Shukai Liu, Ziwei Zhang, Peng Cui, Bo Zhang, Leyu Lin

Recently, real-world recommendation systems need to deal with millions of candidates. It is extremely challenging to conduct sophisticated end-to-end algorithms on the entire corpus due to the tremendous computation costs. Therefore, conventional recommendation systems usually contain two modules. The matching module focuses on the coverage, which aims to efficiently retrieve hundreds of items from large corpora, while the ranking module generates specific ranks for these items. Recommendation diversity is an essential factor that impacts user experience. Most efforts have explored recommendation diversity in ranking, while the matching module should take more responsibility for diversity. In this paper, we propose a novel Heterogeneous graph neural network framework for diversified recommendation (GraphDR) in matching to improve both recommendation accuracy and diversity. Specifically, GraphDR builds a huge heterogeneous preference network to record different types of user preferences, and conduct a field-level heterogeneous graph attention network for node aggregation. We also innovatively conduct a neighbor-similarity based loss to balance both recommendation accuracy and diversity for the diversified matching task. In experiments, we conduct extensive online and offline evaluations on a real-world recommendation system with various accuracy and diversity metrics and achieve significant improvements. We also conduct model analyses and case study for a better understanding of our model. Moreover, GraphDR has been deployed on a well-known recommendation system, which affects millions of users. The source code will be released.

* 11 pages, under review 

Thematic recommendations on knowledge graphs using multilayer networks

May 12, 2021
Mariano Beguerisse-Díaz, Dimitrios Korkinof, Till Hoffmann

We present a framework to generate and evaluate thematic recommendations based on multilayer network representations of knowledge graphs (KGs). In this representation, each layer encodes a different type of relationship in the KG, and directed interlayer couplings connect the same entity in different roles. The relative importance of different types of connections is captured by an intuitive salience matrix that can be estimated from data, tuned to incorporate domain knowledge, address different use cases, or respect business logic. We apply an adaptation of the personalised PageRank algorithm to multilayer models of KGs to generate item-item recommendations. These recommendations reflect the knowledge we hold about the content and are suitable for thematic and/or cold-start recommendation settings. Evaluating thematic recommendations from user data presents unique challenges that we address by developing a method to evaluate recommendations relying on user-item ratings, yet respecting their thematic nature. We also show that the salience matrix can be estimated from user data. We demonstrate the utility of our methods by significantly improving consumption metrics in an AB test where collaborative filtering delivered subpar performance. We also apply our approach to movie recommendation using publicly-available data to ensure the reproducibility of our results. We demonstrate that our approach outperforms existing thematic recommendation methods and is even competitive with collaborative filtering approaches.

* 20 pages, 5 figures 

Choosing the Best of Both Worlds: Diverse and Novel Recommendations through Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning

Oct 28, 2021
Dusan Stamenkovic, Alexandros Karatzoglou, Ioannis Arapakis, Xin Xin, Kleomenis Katevas

Since the inception of Recommender Systems (RS), the accuracy of the recommendations in terms of relevance has been the golden criterion for evaluating the quality of RS algorithms. However, by focusing on item relevance, one pays a significant price in terms of other important metrics: users get stuck in a "filter bubble" and their array of options is significantly reduced, hence degrading the quality of the user experience and leading to churn. Recommendation, and in particular session-based/sequential recommendation, is a complex task with multiple - and often conflicting objectives - that existing state-of-the-art approaches fail to address. In this work, we take on the aforementioned challenge and introduce Scalarized Multi-Objective Reinforcement Learning (SMORL) for the RS setting, a novel Reinforcement Learning (RL) framework that can effectively address multi-objective recommendation tasks. The proposed SMORL agent augments standard recommendation models with additional RL layers that enforce it to simultaneously satisfy three principal objectives: accuracy, diversity, and novelty of recommendations. We integrate this framework with four state-of-the-art session-based recommendation models and compare it with a single-objective RL agent that only focuses on accuracy. Our experimental results on two real-world datasets reveal a substantial increase in aggregate diversity, a moderate increase in accuracy, reduced repetitiveness of recommendations, and demonstrate the importance of reinforcing diversity and novelty as complementary objectives.

* 9 pages, 4 figures, Proc. ACM WSDM, 2022 In Proceedings of the 15th ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining (WSDM '22), February 21-25, 2022, Phoenix, Arizona 

Generate Natural Language Explanations for Recommendation

Jan 09, 2021
Hanxiong Chen, Xu Chen, Shaoyun Shi, Yongfeng Zhang

Providing personalized explanations for recommendations can help users to understand the underlying insight of the recommendation results, which is helpful to the effectiveness, transparency, persuasiveness and trustworthiness of recommender systems. Current explainable recommendation models mostly generate textual explanations based on pre-defined sentence templates. However, the expressiveness power of template-based explanation sentences are limited to the pre-defined expressions, and manually defining the expressions require significant human efforts. Motivated by this problem, we propose to generate free-text natural language explanations for personalized recommendation. In particular, we propose a hierarchical sequence-to-sequence model (HSS) for personalized explanation generation. Different from conventional sentence generation in NLP research, a great challenge of explanation generation in e-commerce recommendation is that not all sentences in user reviews are of explanation purpose. To solve the problem, we further propose an auto-denoising mechanism based on topical item feature words for sentence generation. Experiments on various e-commerce product domains show that our approach can not only improve the recommendation accuracy, but also the explanation quality in terms of the offline measures and feature words coverage. This research is one of the initial steps to grant intelligent agents with the ability to explain itself based on natural language sentences.

* Accepted to the SIGIR 2019 Workshop on ExplainAble Recommendation and Search, Paris, France, July 2019 

The Unfairness of Popularity Bias in Book Recommendation

Feb 27, 2022
Mohammadmehdi Naghiaei, Hossein A. Rahmani, Mahdi Dehghan

Recent studies have shown that recommendation systems commonly suffer from popularity bias. Popularity bias refers to the problem that popular items (i.e., frequently rated items) are recommended frequently while less popular items are recommended rarely or not at all. Researchers adopted two approaches to examining popularity bias: (i) from the users' perspective, by analyzing how far a recommendation system deviates from user's expectations in receiving popular items, and (ii) by analyzing the amount of exposure that long-tail items receive, measured by overall catalog coverage and novelty. In this paper, we examine the first point of view in the book domain, although the findings may be applied to other domains as well. To this end, we analyze the well-known Book-Crossing dataset and define three user groups based on their tendency towards popular items (i.e., Niche, Diverse, Bestseller-focused). Further, we evaluate the performance of nine state-of-the-art recommendation algorithms and two baselines (i.e., Random, MostPop) from both the accuracy (e.g., NDCG, Precision, Recall) and popularity bias perspectives. Our results indicate that most state-of-the-art recommendation algorithms suffer from popularity bias in the book domain, and fail to meet users' expectations with Niche and Diverse tastes despite having a larger profile size. Conversely, Bestseller-focused users are more likely to receive high-quality recommendations, both in terms of fairness and personalization. Furthermore, our study shows a tradeoff between personalization and unfairness of popularity bias in recommendation algorithms for users belonging to the Diverse and Bestseller groups, that is, algorithms with high capability of personalization suffer from the unfairness of popularity bias.

* Accepted at [email protected] 2022