Many current applications use recommendations in order to modify the natural user behavior, such as to increase the number of sales or the time spent on a website. This results in a gap between the final recommendation objective and the classical setup where recommendation candidates are evaluated by their coherence with past user behavior, by predicting either the missing entries in the user-item matrix, or the most likely next event. To bridge this gap, we optimize a recommendation policy for the task of increasing the desired outcome versus the organic user behavior. We show this is equivalent to learning to predict recommendation outcomes under a fully random recommendation policy. To this end, we propose a new domain adaptation algorithm that learns from logged data containing outcomes from a biased recommendation policy and predicts recommendation outcomes according to random exposure. We compare our method against state-of-the-art factorization methods, in addition to new approaches of causal recommendation and show significant improvements.
Properly handling missing data is a fundamental challenge in recommendation. Most present works perform negative sampling from unobserved data to supply the training of recommender models with negative signals. Nevertheless, existing negative sampling strategies, either static or adaptive ones, are insufficient to yield high-quality negative samples --- both informative to model training and reflective of user real needs. In this work, we hypothesize that item knowledge graph (KG), which provides rich relations among items and KG entities, could be useful to infer informative and factual negative samples. Towards this end, we develop a new negative sampling model, Knowledge Graph Policy Network (KGPolicy), which works as a reinforcement learning agent to explore high-quality negatives. Specifically, by conducting our designed exploration operations, it navigates from the target positive interaction, adaptively receives knowledge-aware negative signals, and ultimately yields a potential negative item to train the recommender. We tested on a matrix factorization (MF) model equipped with KGPolicy, and it achieves significant improvements over both state-of-the-art sampling methods like DNS and IRGAN, and KG-enhanced recommender models like KGAT. Further analyses from different angles provide insights of knowledge-aware sampling. We release the codes and datasets at https://github.com/xiangwang1223/kgpolicy.
User behavior data in recommender systems are driven by the complex interactions of many latent factors behind the users' decision making processes. The factors are highly entangled, and may range from high-level ones that govern user intentions, to low-level ones that characterize a user's preference when executing an intention. Learning representations that uncover and disentangle these latent factors can bring enhanced robustness, interpretability, and controllability. However, learning such disentangled representations from user behavior is challenging, and remains largely neglected by the existing literature. In this paper, we present the MACRo-mIcro Disentangled Variational Auto-Encoder (MacridVAE) for learning disentangled representations from user behavior. Our approach achieves macro disentanglement by inferring the high-level concepts associated with user intentions (e.g., to buy a shirt or a cellphone), while capturing the preference of a user regarding the different concepts separately. A micro-disentanglement regularizer, stemming from an information-theoretic interpretation of VAEs, then forces each dimension of the representations to independently reflect an isolated low-level factor (e.g., the size or the color of a shirt). Empirical results show that our approach can achieve substantial improvement over the state-of-the-art baselines. We further demonstrate that the learned representations are interpretable and controllable, which can potentially lead to a new paradigm for recommendation where users are given fine-grained control over targeted aspects of the recommendation lists.
Most existing recommender systems leverage the data of one type of user behaviors 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 on a user's preference, 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 novel solution named NMTR (short for Neural Multi-Task Recommendation) for learning recommender systems from multiple types of user behaviors. 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 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.
In this paper, we propose a novel sequence-aware recommendation model. Our model utilizes self-attention mechanism to infer the item-item relationship from user's historical interactions. With self-attention, it is able to estimate the relative weights of each item in user interaction trajectories to learn better representations for user's transient interests. The model is finally trained in a metric learning framework, taking both short-term and long-term intentions into consideration. Experiments on a wide range of datasets on different domains demonstrate that our approach outperforms the state-of-the-art by a wide margin.
Recommender systems are widely used in big information-based companies such as Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Netflix. A recommender system deals with the problem of information overload by filtering important information fragments according to users' preferences. In light of the increasing success of deep learning, recent studies have proved the benefits of using deep learning in various recommendation tasks. However, most proposed techniques only aim to target individuals, which cannot be efficiently applied in group recommendation. In this paper, we propose a deep learning architecture to solve the group recommendation problem. On the one hand, as different individual preferences in a group necessitate preference trade-offs in making group recommendations, it is essential that the recommendation model can discover substitutes among user behaviors. On the other hand, it has been observed that a user as an individual and as a group member behaves differently. To tackle such problems, we propose using an attention mechanism to capture the impact of each user in a group. Specifically, our model automatically learns the influence weight of each user in a group and recommends items to the group based on its members' weighted preferences. We conduct extensive experiments on four datasets. Our model significantly outperforms baseline methods and shows promising results in applying deep learning to the group recommendation problem.
Many recommendation algorithms rely on user data to generate recommendations. However, these recommendations also affect the data obtained from future users. This work aims to understand the effects of this dynamic interaction. We propose a simple model where users with heterogeneous preferences arrive over time. Based on this model, we prove that naive estimators, i.e. those which ignore this feedback loop, are not consistent. We show that consistent estimators are efficient in the presence of myopic agents. Our results are validated using extensive simulations.
Recommender systems are one of the most successful applications of data mining and machine learning technology in practice. Academic research in the field is historically often based on the matrix completion problem formulation, where for each user-item-pair only one interaction (e.g., a rating) is considered. In many application domains, however, multiple user-item interactions of different types can be recorded over time. And, a number of recent works have shown that this information can be used to build richer individual user models and to discover additional behavioral patterns that can be leveraged in the recommendation process. In this work we review existing works that consider information from such sequentially-ordered user- item interaction logs in the recommendation process. Based on this review, we propose a categorization of the corresponding recommendation tasks and goals, summarize existing algorithmic solutions, discuss methodological approaches when benchmarking what we call sequence-aware recommender systems, and outline open challenges in the area.
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.
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.
Given e-commerce scenarios that user profiles are invisible, session-based recommendation is proposed to generate recommendation results from short sessions. Previous work only considers the user's sequential behavior in the current session, whereas the user's main purpose in the current session is not emphasized. In this paper, we propose a novel neural networks framework, i.e., Neural Attentive Recommendation Machine (NARM), to tackle this problem. Specifically, we explore a hybrid encoder with an attention mechanism to model the user's sequential behavior and capture the user's main purpose in the current session, which are combined as a unified session representation later. We then compute the recommendation scores for each candidate item with a bi-linear matching scheme based on this unified session representation. We train NARM by jointly learning the item and session representations as well as their matchings. We carried out extensive experiments on two benchmark datasets. Our experimental results show that NARM outperforms state-of-the-art baselines on both datasets. Furthermore, we also find that NARM achieves a significant improvement on long sessions, which demonstrates its advantages in modeling the user's sequential behavior and main purpose simultaneously.