skip to main content

Title: SQL-Rank: A Listwise Approach to Collaborative Ranking
In this paper, we propose a listwise approach for constructing user-specific rankings in recommendation systems in a collaborative fashion. We contrast the listwise approach to previous pointwise and pairwise approaches, which are based on treating either each rating or each pairwise comparison as an independent instance respectively. By extending the work of (Cao et al. 2007), we cast listwise collaborative ranking as maximum likelihood under a permutation model which applies probability mass to permutations based on a low rank latent score matrix. We present a novel algorithm called SQL-Rank, which can accommodate ties and missing data and can run in linear time. We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing listwise ranking methods based on a novel representation theory for the permutation model. Applying this framework to collaborative ranking, we derive asymptotic statistical rates as the number of users and items grow together. We conclude by demonstrating that our SQL-Rank method often outperforms current state-of-the-art algorithms for implicit feedback such as Weighted-MF and BPR and achieve favorable results when compared to explicit feedback algorithms such as matrix factorization and collaborative ranking.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Proceedings of Machine Learning Research (35th International Conference on Machine Learning)
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. In this paper, we consider the Collaborative Ranking (CR) problem for recommendation systems. Given a set of pairwise preferences between items for each user, collaborative ranking can be used to rank un-rated items for each user, and this ranking can be naturally used for recommendation. It is observed that collaborative ranking algorithms usually achieve better performance since they directly minimize the ranking loss; however, they are rarely used in practice due to the poor scalability. All the existing CR algorithms have time complexity at least O(|Ω|r) per iteration, where r is the target rank and |Ω| is number of pairs which grows quadratically with number of ratings per user. For example, the Netflix data contains totally 20 billion rating pairs, and at this scale all the current algorithms have to work with significant subsampling, resulting in poor prediction on testing data. In this paper, we propose a new collaborative ranking algorithm called Primal-CR that reduces the time complexity toO(|Ω|+d1d2r), where d1 is number of users and d2 is the averaged number of items rated by a user. Note that d1, d2 is strictly smaller and open much smaller than |Ω|. Furthermore, by exploiting the fact that most data is in the form of numerical ratings instead of pairwise comparisons, we propose Primal-CR++ with O(d1d2(r + log d2)) time complexity. Both algorithms have better theoretical time complexity than existing approaches and also outperform existing approaches in terms of NDCG and pairwise error on real data sets. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first collaborative ranking algorithm capable of working on the full Netflix dataset using all the 20 billion rating pairs, and this leads to a model with much better recommendation compared with previous models trained on subsamples. Finally, compared with classical matrix factorization algorithm which also requires O(d1 d2r) time, our algorithm has almost the same efficiency while making much better recommendations since we consider the ranking loss. 
    more » « less
  2. Rank aggregation from pairwise preferences has widespread applications in recommendation systems and information retrieval. Given the enormous economic and societal impact of these applications, and the consequent incentives for malicious players to manipulate ranking outcomes in their favor, an important challenge is to make rank aggregation algorithms robust to adversarial manipulations in data. In this paper, we initiate the study of robustness in rank aggregation under the popular Bradley-Terry-Luce (BTL) model for pairwise comparisons. We consider a setting where pairwise comparisons are initially generated according to a BTL model, but a fraction of these comparisons are corrupted by an adversary prior to being reported to us. We consider a strong contamination model, where an adversary having complete knowledge of the initial truthful data and the underlying true BTL parameters, can subsequently corrupt the truthful data by inserting, deleting, or changing data points. The goal is to estimate the true score/weight of each item under the BTL model, even in the presence of these corruptions. We characterize the extent of adversarial corruption under which the true BTL parameters are uniquely identifiable. We also provide a novel pruning algorithm that provably cleans the data of adversarial corruption under reasonable conditions on data generation and corruption. We corroborate our theory with experiments on both synthetic as well as real data showing that previous algorithms are vulnerable to even small amounts of corruption, whereas our algorithm can clean a reasonably high amount of corruption. 
    more » « less
  3. We propose a new model for supervised learning to rank. In our model, the relevance labels are assumed to follow a categorical distribution whose probabilities are constructed based on a scoring function. We optimize the training objective with respect to the multivariate categorical variables with an unbiased and low-variance gradient estimator. Learning-to-rank methods can generally be categorized into pointwise, pairwise, and listwise approaches. Although our scoring function is pointwise, the proposed framework permits flexibility over the choice of the loss function. In our new model, the loss function need not be differentiable and can either be pointwise or listwise. Our proposed method achieves better or comparable results on two datasets compared with existing pairwise and listwise methods. 
    more » « less
  4. null (Ed.)
    Network embedding aims to automatically learn the node representations in networks. The basic idea of network embedding is to first construct a network to describe the neighborhood context for each node, and then learn the node representations by designing an objective function to preserve certain properties of the constructed context network. The vast majority of the existing methods, explicitly or implicitly, follow a pointwise design principle. That is, the objective can be decomposed into the summation of the certain goodness function over each individual edge of the context network. In this paper, we propose to go beyond such pointwise approaches, and introduce the ranking-oriented design principle for network embedding. The key idea is to decompose the overall objective function into the summation of a goodness function over a set of edges to collectively preserve their relative rankings on the context network. We instantiate the ranking-oriented design principle by two new network embedding algorithms, including a pairwise network embedding method PaWine which optimizes the relative weights of edge pairs, and a listwise method LiWine which optimizes the relative weights of edge lists. Both proposed algorithms bear a linear time complexity, making themselves scalable to large networks. We conduct extensive experimental evaluations on five real datasets with a variety of downstream learning tasks, which demonstrate that the proposed approaches consistently outperform the existing methods. 
    more » « less
  5. Srinivasan, Kathiravan (Ed.)
    Despite their satisfactory performance, most existing listwise Learning-To-Rank (LTR) models do not consider the crucial issue of robustness. A data set can be contaminated in various ways, including human error in labeling or annotation, distributional data shift, and malicious adversaries who wish to degrade the algorithm’s performance. It has been shown that Distributionally Robust Optimization (DRO) is resilient against various types of noise and perturbations. To fill this gap, we introduce a new listwise LTR model called Distributionally Robust Multi-output Regression Ranking (DRMRR) . Different from existing methods, the scoring function of DRMRR was designed as a multivariate mapping from a feature vector to a vector of deviation scores, which captures local context information and cross-document interactions. In this way, we are able to incorporate the LTR metrics into our model. DRMRR uses a Wasserstein DRO framework to minimize a multi-output loss function under the most adverse distributions in the neighborhood of the empirical data distribution defined by a Wasserstein ball. We present a compact and computationally solvable reformulation of the min-max formulation of DRMRR. Our experiments were conducted on two real-world applications: medical document retrieval and drug response prediction, showing that DRMRR notably outperforms state-of-the-art LTR models. We also conducted an extensive analysis to examine the resilience of DRMRR against various types of noise: Gaussian noise, adversarial perturbations, and label poisoning. Accordingly, DRMRR is not only able to achieve significantly better performance than other baselines, but it can maintain a relatively stable performance as more noise is added to the data. 
    more » « less