Matrix factorization is at the heart of many machine learning algorithms, for example, dimensionality reduction (e.g. kernel PCA) or recommender systems relying on collaborative filtering. Understanding a singular value decomposition (SVD) of a matrix as a neural network optimization problem enables us to decompose large matrices efficiently while dealing naturally with missing values in the given matrix. But most importantly, it allows us to learn the connection between data points' feature vectors and the matrix containing information about their pairwise relations. In this paper we introduce a novel neural network architecture termed Similarity Encoder (SimEc), which is designed to simultaneously factorize a given target matrix while also learning the mapping to project the data points' feature vectors into a similarity preserving embedding space. This makes it possible to, for example, easily compute out-of-sample solutions for new data points. Additionally, we demonstrate that SimEc can preserve non-metric similarities and even predict multiple pairwise relations between data points at once.
We present collaborative similarity embedding (CSE), a unified framework that exploits comprehensive collaborative relations available in a user-item bipartite graph for representation learning and recommendation. In the proposed framework, we differentiate two types of proximity relations: direct proximity and k-th order neighborhood proximity. While learning from the former exploits direct user-item associations observable from the graph, learning from the latter makes use of implicit associations such as user-user similarities and item-item similarities, which can provide valuable information especially when the graph is sparse. Moreover, for improving scalability and flexibility, we propose a sampling technique that is specifically designed to capture the two types of proximity relations. Extensive experiments on eight benchmark datasets show that CSE yields significantly better performance than state-of-the-art recommendation methods.