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"Recommendation": models, code, and papers

MicroRec: Accelerating Deep Recommendation Systems to Microseconds by Hardware and Data Structure Solutions

Oct 12, 2020
Wenqi Jiang, Zhenhao He, Shuai Zhang, Thomas B. Preußer, Kai Zeng, Liang Feng, Jiansong Zhang, Tongxuan Liu, Yong Li, Jingren Zhou, Ce Zhang, Gustavo Alonso

Deep neural networks are widely used in personalized recommendation systems. Unlike regular DNN inference workloads, recommendation inference is memory-bound due to the many random memory accesses needed to lookup the embedding tables. The inference is also heavily constrained in terms of latency because producing a recommendation for a user must be done in about tens of milliseconds. In this paper, we propose MicroRec, a high-performance inference engine for recommendation systems. MicroRec accelerates recommendation inference by (1) redesigning the data structures involved in the embeddings to reduce the number of lookups needed and (2) taking advantage of the availability of High-Bandwidth Memory (HBM) in FPGA accelerators to tackle the latency by enabling parallel lookups. We have implemented the resulting design on an FPGA board including the embedding lookup step as well as the complete inference process. Compared to the optimized CPU baseline (16 vCPU, AVX2-enabled), MicroRec achieves 13.8~14.7x speedup on embedding lookup alone and 2.5$~5.4x speedup for the entire recommendation inference in terms of throughput. As for latency, CPU-based engines needs milliseconds for inferring a recommendation while MicroRec only takes microseconds, a significant advantage in real-time recommendation systems.

* Under submission 

Pixie: A System for Recommending 3+ Billion Items to 200+ Million Users in Real-Time

Nov 21, 2017
Chantat Eksombatchai, Pranav Jindal, Jerry Zitao Liu, Yuchen Liu, Rahul Sharma, Charles Sugnet, Mark Ulrich, Jure Leskovec

User experience in modern content discovery applications critically depends on high-quality personalized recommendations. However, building systems that provide such recommendations presents a major challenge due to a massive pool of items, a large number of users, and requirements for recommendations to be responsive to user actions and generated on demand in real-time. Here we present Pixie, a scalable graph-based real-time recommender system that we developed and deployed at Pinterest. Given a set of user-specific pins as a query, Pixie selects in real-time from billions of possible pins those that are most related to the query. To generate recommendations, we develop Pixie Random Walk algorithm that utilizes the Pinterest object graph of 3 billion nodes and 17 billion edges. Experiments show that recommendations provided by Pixie lead up to 50% higher user engagement when compared to the previous Hadoop-based production system. Furthermore, we develop a graph pruning strategy at that leads to an additional 58% improvement in recommendations. Last, we discuss system aspects of Pixie, where a single server executes 1,200 recommendation requests per second with 60 millisecond latency. Today, systems backed by Pixie contribute to more than 80% of all user engagement on Pinterest.


Comprehensive Fair Meta-learned Recommender System

Jun 09, 2022
Tianxin Wei, Jingrui He

In recommender systems, one common challenge is the cold-start problem, where interactions are very limited for fresh users in the systems. To address this challenge, recently, many works introduce the meta-optimization idea into the recommendation scenarios, i.e. learning to learn the user preference by only a few past interaction items. The core idea is to learn global shared meta-initialization parameters for all users and rapidly adapt them into local parameters for each user respectively. They aim at deriving general knowledge across preference learning of various users, so as to rapidly adapt to the future new user with the learned prior and a small amount of training data. However, previous works have shown that recommender systems are generally vulnerable to bias and unfairness. Despite the success of meta-learning at improving the recommendation performance with cold-start, the fairness issues are largely overlooked. In this paper, we propose a comprehensive fair meta-learning framework, named CLOVER, for ensuring the fairness of meta-learned recommendation models. We systematically study three kinds of fairness - individual fairness, counterfactual fairness, and group fairness in the recommender systems, and propose to satisfy all three kinds via a multi-task adversarial learning scheme. Our framework offers a generic training paradigm that is applicable to different meta-learned recommender systems. We demonstrate the effectiveness of CLOVER on the representative meta-learned user preference estimator on three real-world data sets. Empirical results show that CLOVER achieves comprehensive fairness without deteriorating the overall cold-start recommendation performance.

* Accepted to SIGKDD 2022 

PICASSO: Unleashing the Potential of GPU-centric Training for Wide-and-deep Recommender Systems

Apr 17, 2022
Yuanxing Zhang, Langshi Chen, Siran Yang, Man Yuan, Huimin Yi, Jie Zhang, Jiamang Wang, Jianbo Dong, Yunlong Xu, Yue Song, Yong Li, Di Zhang, Wei Lin, Lin Qu, Bo Zheng

The development of personalized recommendation has significantly improved the accuracy of information matching and the revenue of e-commerce platforms. Recently, it has 2 trends: 1) recommender systems must be trained timely to cope with ever-growing new products and ever-changing user interests from online marketing and social network; 2) SOTA recommendation models introduce DNN modules to improve prediction accuracy. Traditional CPU-based recommender systems cannot meet these two trends, and GPU- centric training has become a trending approach. However, we observe that GPU devices in training recommender systems are underutilized, and they cannot attain an expected throughput improvement as what it has achieved in CV and NLP areas. This issue can be explained by two characteristics of these recommendation models: First, they contain up to a thousand input feature fields, introducing fragmentary and memory-intensive operations; Second, the multiple constituent feature interaction submodules introduce substantial small-sized compute kernels. To remove this roadblock to the development of recommender systems, we propose a novel framework named PICASSO to accelerate the training of recommendation models on commodity hardware. Specifically, we conduct a systematic analysis to reveal the bottlenecks encountered in training recommendation models. We leverage the model structure and data distribution to unleash the potential of hardware through our packing, interleaving, and caching optimization. Experiments show that PICASSO increases the hardware utilization by an order of magnitude on the basis of SOTA baselines and brings up to 6x throughput improvement for a variety of industrial recommendation models. Using the same hardware budget in production, PICASSO on average shortens the walltime of daily training tasks by 7 hours, significantly reducing the delay of continuous delivery.


Towards Deep Conversational Recommendations

Dec 18, 2018
Raymond Li, Samira Kahou, Hannes Schulz, Vincent Michalski, Laurent Charlin, Chris Pal

There has been growing interest in using neural networks and deep learning techniques to create dialogue systems. Conversational recommendation is an interesting setting for the scientific exploration of dialogue with natural language as the associated discourse involves goal-driven dialogue that often transforms naturally into more free-form chat. This paper provides two contributions. First, until now there has been no publicly available large-scale dataset consisting of real-world dialogues centered around recommendations. To address this issue and to facilitate our exploration here, we have collected ReDial, a dataset consisting of over 10,000 conversations centered around the theme of providing movie recommendations. We make this data available to the community for further research. Second, we use this dataset to explore multiple facets of conversational recommendations. In particular we explore new neural architectures, mechanisms, and methods suitable for composing conversational recommendation systems. Our dataset allows us to systematically probe model sub-components addressing different parts of the overall problem domain ranging from: sentiment analysis and cold-start recommendation generation to detailed aspects of how natural language is used in this setting in the real world. We combine such sub-components into a full-blown dialogue system and examine its behavior.

* 17 pages, 5 figures, Accepted at 32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2018), Montr\'eal, Canada 

User Memory Reasoning for Conversational Recommendation

May 30, 2020
Hu Xu, Seungwhan Moon, Honglei Liu, Bing Liu, Pararth Shah, Bing Liu, Philip S. Yu

We study a conversational recommendation model which dynamically manages users' past (offline) preferences and current (online) requests through a structured and cumulative user memory knowledge graph, to allow for natural interactions and accurate recommendations. For this study, we create a new Memory Graph (MG) <--> Conversational Recommendation parallel corpus called MGConvRex with 7K+ human-to-human role-playing dialogs, grounded on a large-scale user memory bootstrapped from real-world user scenarios. MGConvRex captures human-level reasoning over user memory and has disjoint training/testing sets of users for zero-shot (cold-start) reasoning for recommendation. We propose a simple yet expandable formulation for constructing and updating the MG, and a reasoning model that predicts optimal dialog policies and recommendation items in unconstrained graph space. The prediction of our proposed model inherits the graph structure, providing a natural way to explain the model's recommendation. Experiments are conducted for both offline metrics and online simulation, showing competitive results.


A Comprehensive Overview of Recommender System and Sentiment Analysis

Sep 18, 2021
Sumaia Mohammed AL-Ghuribi, Shahrul Azman Mohd Noah

Recommender system has been proven to be significantly crucial in many fields and is widely used by various domains. Most of the conventional recommender systems rely on the numeric rating given by a user to reflect his opinion about a consumed item; however, these ratings are not available in many domains. As a result, a new source of information represented by the user-generated reviews is incorporated in the recommendation process to compensate for the lack of these ratings. The reviews contain prosperous and numerous information related to the whole item or a specific feature that can be extracted using the sentiment analysis field. This paper gives a comprehensive overview to help researchers who aim to work with recommender system and sentiment analysis. It includes a background of the recommender system concept, including phases, approaches, and performance metrics used in recommender systems. Then, it discusses the sentiment analysis concept and highlights the main points in the sentiment analysis, including level, approaches, and focuses on aspect-based sentiment analysis.


RecipeRec: A Heterogeneous Graph Learning Model for Recipe Recommendation

May 24, 2022
Yijun Tian, Chuxu Zhang, Zhichun Guo, Chao Huang, Ronald Metoyer, Nitesh V. Chawla

Recipe recommendation systems play an essential role in helping people decide what to eat. Existing recipe recommendation systems typically focused on content-based or collaborative filtering approaches, ignoring the higher-order collaborative signal such as relational structure information among users, recipes and food items. In this paper, we formalize the problem of recipe recommendation with graphs to incorporate the collaborative signal into recipe recommendation through graph modeling. In particular, we first present URI-Graph, a new and large-scale user-recipe-ingredient graph. We then propose RecipeRec, a novel heterogeneous graph learning model for recipe recommendation. The proposed model can capture recipe content and collaborative signal through a heterogeneous graph neural network with hierarchical attention and an ingredient set transformer. We also introduce a graph contrastive augmentation strategy to extract informative graph knowledge in a self-supervised manner. Finally, we design a joint objective function of recommendation and contrastive learning to optimize the model. Extensive experiments demonstrate that RecipeRec outperforms state-of-the-art methods for recipe recommendation. Dataset and codes are available at

* Accepted by IJCAI 2022 

Popularity Bias in Collaborative Filtering-Based Multimedia Recommender Systems

Mar 01, 2022
Dominik Kowald, Emanuel Lacic

Multimedia recommender systems suggest media items, e.g., songs, (digital) books and movies, to users by utilizing concepts of traditional recommender systems such as collaborative filtering. In this paper, we investigate a potential issue of such collaborative-filtering based multimedia recommender systems, namely popularity bias that leads to the underrepresentation of unpopular items in the recommendation lists. Therefore, we study four multimedia datasets, i.e., LastFm, MovieLens, BookCrossing and MyAnimeList, that we each split into three user groups differing in their inclination to popularity, i.e., LowPop, MedPop and HighPop. Using these user groups, we evaluate four collaborative filtering-based algorithms with respect to popularity bias on the item and the user level. Our findings are three-fold: firstly, we show that users with little interest into popular items tend to have large user profiles and thus, are important data sources for multimedia recommender systems. Secondly, we find that popular items are recommended more frequently than unpopular ones. Thirdly, we find that users with little interest into popular items receive significantly worse recommendations than users with medium or high interest into popularity.

* Accepted at BIAS Workshop at ECIR'2022