Recent advances in personalized recommendation have sparked great interest in the exploitation of rich structured information provided by knowledge graphs. Unlike most existing approaches that only focus on leveraging knowledge graphs for more accurate recommendation, we perform explicit reasoning with knowledge for decision making so that the recommendations are generated and supported by an interpretable causal inference procedure. To this end, we propose a method called Policy-Guided Path Reasoning (PGPR), which couples recommendation and interpretability by providing actual paths in a knowledge graph. Our contributions include four aspects. We first highlight the significance of incorporating knowledge graphs into recommendation to formally define and interpret the reasoning process. Second, we propose a reinforcement learning (RL) approach featuring an innovative soft reward strategy, user-conditional action pruning and a multi-hop scoring function. Third, we design a policy-guided graph search algorithm to efficiently and effectively sample reasoning paths for recommendation. Finally, we extensively evaluate our method on several large-scale real-world benchmark datasets, obtaining favorable results compared with state-of-the-art methods.
In this position paper, we discuss the merits of simulating privacy dynamics in recommender systems. We study this issue at hand from two perspectives: Firstly, we present a conceptual approach to integrate privacy into recommender system simulations, whose key elements are privacy agents. These agents can enhance users' profiles with different privacy preferences, e.g., their inclination to disclose data to the recommender system. Plus, they can protect users' privacy by guarding all actions that could be a threat to privacy. For example, agents can prohibit a user's privacy-threatening actions or apply privacy-enhancing techniques, e.g., Differential Privacy, to make actions less threatening. Secondly, we identify three critical topics for future research in privacy-aware recommender system simulations: (i) How could we model users' privacy preferences and protect users from performing any privacy-threatening actions? (ii) To what extent do privacy agents modify the users' document preferences? (iii) How do privacy preferences and privacy protections impact recommendations and privacy of others? Our conceptual privacy-aware simulation approach makes it possible to investigate the impact of privacy preferences and privacy protection on the micro-level, i.e., a single user, but also on the macro-level, i.e., all recommender system users. With this work, we hope to present perspectives on how privacy-aware simulations could be realized, such that they enable researchers to study the dynamics of privacy within a recommender system.
Learning from implicit feedback is one of the most common cases in the application of recommender systems. Generally speaking, interacted examples are considered as positive while negative examples are sampled from uninteracted ones. However, noisy examples are prevalent in real-world implicit feedback. A noisy positive example could be interacted but it actually leads to negative user preference. A noisy negative example which is uninteracted because of unawareness of the user could also denote potential positive user preference. Conventional training methods overlook these noisy examples, leading to sub-optimal recommendation. In this work, we propose probabilistic and variational recommendation denoising for implicit feedback. Through an empirical study, we find that different models make relatively similar predictions on clean examples which denote the real user preference, while the predictions on noisy examples vary much more across different models. Motivated by this observation, we propose denoising with probabilistic inference (DPI) which aims to minimize the KL-divergence between the real user preference distributions parameterized by two recommendation models while maximize the likelihood of data observation. We then show that DPI recovers the evidence lower bound of an variational auto-encoder when the real user preference is considered as the latent variables. This leads to our second learning framework denoising with variational autoencoder (DVAE). We employ the proposed DPI and DVAE on four state-of-the-art recommendation models and conduct experiments on three datasets. Experimental results demonstrate that DPI and DVAE significantly improve recommendation performance compared with normal training and other denoising methods. Codes will be open-sourced.
A substantial progress in development of new and efficient tensor factorization techniques has led to an extensive research of their applicability in recommender systems field. Tensor-based recommender models push the boundaries of traditional collaborative filtering techniques by taking into account a multifaceted nature of real environments, which allows to produce more accurate, situational (e.g. context-aware, criteria-driven) recommendations. Despite the promising results, tensor-based methods are poorly covered in existing recommender systems surveys. This survey aims to complement previous works and provide a comprehensive overview on the subject. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to consolidate studies from various application domains in an easily readable, digestible format, which helps to get a notion of the current state of the field. We also provide a high level discussion of the future perspectives and directions for further improvement of tensor-based recommendation systems.
Personalized recommendations are popular in these days of Internet driven activities, specifically shopping. Recommendation methods can be grouped into three major categories, content based filtering, collaborative filtering and machine learning enhanced. Information about products and preferences of different users are primarily used to infer preferences for a specific user. Inadequate information can obviously cause these methods to fail or perform poorly. The more information we provide to these methods, the more likely it is that the methods perform better. Knowledge graphs represent the current trend in recording information in the form of relations between entities, and can provide additional (side) information about products and users. Such information can be used to improve nearest neighbour search, clustering users and products, or train the neural network, when one is used. In this work, we present a new generic recommendation systems framework, that integrates knowledge graphs into the recommendation pipeline. We describe its software design and implementation, and then show through experiments, how such a framework can be specialized for a domain, say movie recommendations, and the improvements in recommendation results possible due to side information obtained from knowledge graphs representation of such information. Our framework supports different knowledge graph representation formats, and facilitates format conversion, merging and information extraction needed for training recommendation methods.
Massive open online courses (MOOCs), which provide a large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web, are becoming a modish way for online and distance education. To help users have a better study experience, many MOOC platforms have provided the services of recommending courses to users. However, we argue that directly recommending a course to users will ignore the expertise levels of different users. To fill this gap, this paper studies the problem of concept recommendation in a more fine-grained view. We propose a novel Heterogeneous Information Networks based Concept Recommender with Reinforcement Learning (HinCRec-RL) incorporated for concept recommendation in MOOCs. Specifically, we first formulate the concept recommendation in MOOCs as a reinforcement learning problem to better model the dynamic interaction among users and knowledge concepts. In addition, to mitigate the data sparsity issue which also exists in many other recommendation tasks, we consider a heterogeneous information network (HIN) among users, courses, videos and concepts, to better learn the semantic representation of users. In particular, we use the meta-paths on HIN to guide the propagation of users' preferences and propose a heterogeneous graph attention network to represent the meta-paths. To validate the effectiveness of our proposed approach, we conduct comprehensive experiments on a real-world dataset from XuetangX, a popular MOOC platform from China. The promising results show that our proposed approach can outperform other baselines.
Privacy-preserving recommendations are recently gaining momentum, since the decentralized user data is increasingly harder to collect, by recommendation service providers, due to the serious concerns over user privacy and data security. This situation is further exacerbated by the strict government regulations such as Europe's General Data Privacy Regulations(GDPR). Federated Learning(FL) is a newly developed privacy-preserving machine learning paradigm to bridge data repositories without compromising data security and privacy. Thus many federated recommendation(FedRec) algorithms have been proposed to realize personalized privacy-preserving recommendations. However, existing FedRec algorithms, mostly extended from traditional collaborative filtering(CF) method, cannot address cold-start problem well. In addition, their performance overhead w.r.t. model accuracy, trained in a federated setting, is often non-negligible comparing to centralized recommendations. This paper studies this issue and presents FL-MV-DSSM, a generic content-based federated multi-view recommendation framework that not only addresses the cold-start problem, but also significantly boosts the recommendation performance by learning a federated model from multiple data source for capturing richer user-level features. The new federated multi-view setting, proposed by FL-MV-DSSM, opens new usage models and brings in new security challenges to FL in recommendation scenarios. We prove the security guarantees of \xxx, and empirical evaluations on FL-MV-DSSM and its variations with public datasets demonstrate its effectiveness. Our codes will be released if this paper is accepted.
Recommender systems are often optimised for short-term reward: a recommendation is considered successful if a reward (e.g. a click) can be observed immediately after the recommendation. The advantage of this framework is that with some reasonable (although questionable) assumptions, it allows familiar supervised learning tools to be used for the recommendation task. However, it means that long-term business metrics, e.g. sales or retention are ignored. In this paper we introduce a framework for modeling long-term rewards in the RecoGym simulation environment. We use this newly introduced functionality to showcase problems introduced by the last-click attribution scheme in the case of conversion-optimized recommendations and propose a simple extension that leads to state-of-the-art results.
In order to help undergraduate students towards successfully completing their degrees, developing tools that can assist students during the course selection process is a significant task in the education domain. The optimal set of courses for each student should include courses that help him/her graduate in a timely fashion and for which he/she is well-prepared for so as to get a good grade in. To this end, we propose two different grade-aware course recommendation approaches to recommend to each student his/her optimal set of courses. The first approach ranks the courses by using an objective function that differentiates between courses that are expected to increase or decrease a student's GPA. The second approach combines the grades predicted by grade prediction methods with the rankings produced by course recommendation methods to improve the final course rankings. To obtain the course rankings in the first approach, we adapt two widely-used representation learning techniques to learn the optimal temporal ordering between courses. Our experiments on a large dataset obtained from the University of Minnesota that includes students from 23 different majors show that the grade-aware course recommendation methods can do better on recommending more courses in which the students are expected to perform well and recommending fewer courses in which they are expected not to perform well in than grade-unaware course recommendation methods.
Heterogeneous Information Networks (HINs) capture complex relations among entities of various kinds and have been used extensively to improve the effectiveness of various data mining tasks, such as in recommender systems. Many existing HIN-based recommendation algorithms utilize hand-crafted meta-paths to extract semantic information from the networks. These algorithms rely on extensive domain knowledge with which the best set of meta-paths can be selected. For applications where the HINs are highly complex with numerous node and link types, the approach of hand-crafting a meta-path set is too tedious and error-prone. To tackle this problem, we propose the Reinforcement learning-based Meta-path Selection (RMS) framework to select effective meta-paths and to incorporate them into existing meta-path-based recommenders. To identify high-quality meta-paths, RMS trains a reinforcement learning (RL) based policy network(agent), which gets rewards from the performance on the downstream recommendation tasks. We design a HIN-based recommendation model, HRec, that effectively uses the meta-path information. We further integrate HRec with RMS and derive our recommendation solution, RMS-HRec, that automatically utilizes the effective meta-paths. Experiments on real datasets show that our algorithm can significantly improve the performance of recommendation models by capturing important meta-paths automatically.