Recommender systems play a crucial role in mitigating the problem of information overload by suggesting users' personalized items or services. The vast majority of traditional recommender systems consider the recommendation procedure as a static process and make recommendations following a fixed strategy. In this paper, we propose a novel recommender system with the capability of continuously improving its strategies during the interactions with users. We model the sequential interactions between users and a recommender system as a Markov Decision Process (MDP) and leverage Reinforcement Learning (RL) to automatically learn the optimal strategies via recommending trial-and-error items and receiving reinforcements of these items from users' feedbacks. In particular, we introduce an online user-agent interacting environment simulator, which can pre-train and evaluate model parameters offline before applying the model online. Moreover, we validate the importance of list-wise recommendations during the interactions between users and agent, and develop a novel approach to incorporate them into the proposed framework LIRD for list-wide recommendations. The experimental results based on a real-world e-commerce dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

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IFIP TC13 Conference on Human-Computer Interaction是人机交互领域的研究者和实践者展示其工作的重要平台。多年来,这些会议吸引了来自几个国家和文化的研究人员。官网链接:http://interact2019.org/

Deep reinforcement learning suggests the promise of fully automated learning of robotic control policies that directly map sensory inputs to low-level actions. However, applying deep reinforcement learning methods on real-world robots is exceptionally difficult, due both to the sample complexity and, just as importantly, the sensitivity of such methods to hyperparameters. While hyperparameter tuning can be performed in parallel in simulated domains, it is usually impractical to tune hyperparameters directly on real-world robotic platforms, especially legged platforms like quadrupedal robots that can be damaged through extensive trial-and-error learning. In this paper, we develop a stable variant of the soft actor-critic deep reinforcement learning algorithm that requires minimal hyperparameter tuning, while also requiring only a modest number of trials to learn multilayer neural network policies. This algorithm is based on the framework of maximum entropy reinforcement learning, and automatically trades off exploration against exploitation by dynamically and automatically tuning a temperature parameter that determines the stochasticity of the policy. We show that this method achieves state-of-the-art performance on four standard benchmark environments. We then demonstrate that it can be used to learn quadrupedal locomotion gaits on a real-world Minitaur robot, learning to walk from scratch directly in the real world in two hours of training.

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Most existing recommender systems leverage user behavior data of one type only, such as the purchase behavior in E-commerce that is directly related to the business KPI (Key Performance Indicator) of conversion rate. Besides the key behavioral data, we argue that other forms of user behaviors also provide valuable signal, such as views, clicks, adding a product to shop carts and so on. They should be taken into account properly to provide quality recommendation for users. In this work, we contribute a new solution named NMTR (short for Neural Multi-Task Recommendation) for learning recommender systems from user multi-behavior data. We develop a neural network model to capture the complicated and multi-type interactions between users and items. In particular, our model accounts for the cascading relationship among different types of behaviors (e.g., a user must click on a product before purchasing it). To fully exploit the signal in the data of multiple types of behaviors, we perform a joint optimization based on the multi-task learning framework, where the optimization on a behavior is treated as a task. Extensive experiments on two real-world datasets demonstrate that NMTR significantly outperforms state-of-the-art recommender systems that are designed to learn from both single-behavior data and multi-behavior data. Further analysis shows that modeling multiple behaviors is particularly useful for providing recommendation for sparse users that have very few interactions.

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Recommender systems (RSs) have been the most important technology for increasing the business in Taobao, the largest online consumer-to-consumer (C2C) platform in China. The billion-scale data in Taobao creates three major challenges to Taobao's RS: scalability, sparsity and cold start. In this paper, we present our technical solutions to address these three challenges. The methods are based on the graph embedding framework. We first construct an item graph from users' behavior history. Each item is then represented as a vector using graph embedding. The item embeddings are employed to compute pairwise similarities between all items, which are then used in the recommendation process. To alleviate the sparsity and cold start problems, side information is incorporated into the embedding framework. We propose two aggregation methods to integrate the embeddings of items and the corresponding side information. Experimental results from offline experiments show that methods incorporating side information are superior to those that do not. Further, we describe the platform upon which the embedding methods are deployed and the workflow to process the billion-scale data in Taobao. Using online A/B test, we show that the online Click-Through-Rate (CTRs) are improved comparing to the previous recommendation methods widely used in Taobao, further demonstrating the effectiveness and feasibility of our proposed methods in Taobao's live production environment.

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In recommender systems, cold-start issues are situations where no previous events, e.g. ratings, are known for certain users or items. In this paper, we focus on the item cold-start problem. Both content information (e.g. item attributes) and initial user ratings are valuable for seizing users' preferences on a new item. However, previous methods for the item cold-start problem either 1) incorporate content information into collaborative filtering to perform hybrid recommendation, or 2) actively select users to rate the new item without considering content information and then do collaborative filtering. In this paper, we propose a novel recommendation scheme for the item cold-start problem by leverage both active learning and items' attribute information. Specifically, we design useful user selection criteria based on items' attributes and users' rating history, and combine the criteria in an optimization framework for selecting users. By exploiting the feedback ratings, users' previous ratings and items' attributes, we then generate accurate rating predictions for the other unselected users. Experimental results on two real-world datasets show the superiority of our proposed method over traditional methods.

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Recommender systems can mitigate the information overload problem by suggesting users' personalized items. In real-world recommendations such as e-commerce, a typical interaction between the system and its users is -- users are recommended a page of items and provide feedback; and then the system recommends a new page of items. To effectively capture such interaction for recommendations, we need to solve two key problems -- (1) how to update recommending strategy according to user's \textit{real-time feedback}, and 2) how to generate a page of items with proper display, which pose tremendous challenges to traditional recommender systems. In this paper, we study the problem of page-wise recommendations aiming to address aforementioned two challenges simultaneously. In particular, we propose a principled approach to jointly generate a set of complementary items and the corresponding strategy to display them in a 2-D page; and propose a novel page-wise recommendation framework based on deep reinforcement learning, DeepPage, which can optimize a page of items with proper display based on real-time feedback from users. The experimental results based on a real-world e-commerce dataset demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed framework.

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Recommender systems (RSs) provide an effective way of alleviating the information overload problem by selecting personalized items for different users. Latent factors based collaborative filtering (CF) has become the popular approaches for RSs due to its accuracy and scalability. Recently, online social networks and user-generated content provide diverse sources for recommendation beyond ratings. Although {\em social matrix factorization} (Social MF) and {\em topic matrix factorization} (Topic MF) successfully exploit social relations and item reviews, respectively, both of them ignore some useful information. In this paper, we investigate the effective data fusion by combining the aforementioned approaches. First, we propose a novel model {\em \mbox{MR3}} to jointly model three sources of information (i.e., ratings, item reviews, and social relations) effectively for rating prediction by aligning the latent factors and hidden topics. Second, we incorporate the implicit feedback from ratings into the proposed model to enhance its capability and to demonstrate its flexibility. We achieve more accurate rating prediction on real-life datasets over various state-of-the-art methods. Furthermore, we measure the contribution from each of the three data sources and the impact of implicit feedback from ratings, followed by the sensitivity analysis of hyperparameters. Empirical studies demonstrate the effectiveness and efficacy of our proposed model and its extension.

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In recent years, deep neural networks have yielded state-of-the-art performance on several tasks. Although some recent works have focused on combining deep learning with recommendation, we highlight three issues of existing works. First, most works perform deep content feature learning and resort to matrix factorization, which cannot effectively model the highly complex user-item interaction function. Second, due to the difficulty on training deep neural networks, existing models utilize a shallow architecture, and thus limit the expressive potential of deep learning. Third, neural network models are easy to overfit on the implicit setting, because negative interactions are not taken into account. To tackle these issues, we present a generic recommender framework called Neural Collaborative Autoencoder (NCAE) to perform collaborative filtering, which works well for both explicit feedback and implicit feedback. NCAE can effectively capture the relationship between interactions via a non-linear matrix factorization process. To optimize the deep architecture of NCAE, we develop a three-stage pre-training mechanism that combines supervised and unsupervised feature learning. Moreover, to prevent overfitting on the implicit setting, we propose an error reweighting module and a sparsity-aware data-augmentation strategy. Extensive experiments on three real-world datasets demonstrate that NCAE can significantly advance the state-of-the-art.

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A recommender system aims to recommend items that a user is interested in among many items. The need for the recommender system has been expanded by the information explosion. Various approaches have been suggested for providing meaningful recommendations to users. One of the proposed approaches is to consider a recommender system as a Markov decision process (MDP) problem and try to solve it using reinforcement learning (RL). However, existing RL-based methods have an obvious drawback. To solve an MDP in a recommender system, they encountered a problem with the large number of discrete actions that bring RL to a larger class of problems. In this paper, we propose a novel RL-based recommender system. We formulate a recommender system as a gridworld game by using a biclustering technique that can reduce the state and action space significantly. Using biclustering not only reduces space but also improves the recommendation quality effectively handling the cold-start problem. In addition, our approach can provide users with some explanation why the system recommends certain items. Lastly, we examine the proposed algorithm on a real-world dataset and achieve a better performance than the widely used recommendation algorithm.

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We propose a novel recommendation method based on tree. With user behavior data, the tree based model can capture user interests from coarse to fine, by traversing nodes top down and make decisions whether to pick up each node to user. Compared to traditional model-based methods like matrix factorization (MF), our tree based model does not have to fetch and estimate each item in the entire set. Instead, candidates are drawn from subsets corresponding to user's high-level interests, which is defined by the tree structure. Meanwhile, finding candidates from the entire corpus brings more novelty than content-based approaches like item-based collaborative filtering.Moreover, in this paper, we show that the tree structure can also act to refine user interests distribution, to benefit both training and prediction. The experimental results in both open dataset and Taobao display advertising dataset indicate that the proposed method outperforms existing methods.

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With the ever-growing volume, complexity and dynamicity of online information, recommender system has been an effective key solution to overcome such information overload. In recent years, deep learning's revolutionary advances in speech recognition, image analysis and natural language processing have gained significant attention. Meanwhile, recent studies also demonstrate its effectiveness in coping with information retrieval and recommendation tasks. Applying deep learning techniques into recommender system has been gaining momentum due to its state-of-the-art performances and high-quality recommendations. In contrast to traditional recommendation models, deep learning provides a better understanding of user's demands, item's characteristics and historical interactions between them. This article aims to provide a comprehensive review of recent research efforts on deep learning based recommender systems towards fostering innovations of recommender system research. A taxonomy of deep learning based recommendation models is presented and used to categorize the surveyed articles. Open problems are identified based on the analytics of the reviewed works and potential solutions discussed.

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