skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Friday, April 12 until 2:00 AM ET on Saturday, April 13 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: XPL-CF: Explainable Embeddings for Feature-based Collaborative Filtering
Collaborative filtering (CF) methods are making an impact on our daily lives in a wide range of applications, including recommender systems and personalization. Latent factor methods, e.g., matrix factorization (MF), have been the state-of-the-art in CF, however they lack interpretability and do not provide a straightforward explanation for their predictions. Explainability is gaining momentum in recommender systems for accountability, and because a good explanation can swing an undecided user. Most recent explainable recommendation methods require auxiliary data such as review text or item content on top of item ratings. In this paper, we address the case where no additional data are available and propose augmenting the classical MF framework for CF with a prior that encodes each user's embedding as a sparse linear combination of item embeddings, and vice versa for each item embedding. Our XPL-CF approach automatically reveals these user-item relationships, which underpin the latent factors and explain how the resulting recommendations are formed. We showcase the effectiveness of XPL-CF on real data from various application domains. We also evaluate the explainability of the user-item relationship obtained from XPL-CF through numeric evaluation and case study examples.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1908070
NSF-PAR ID:
10357459
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
30th ACM International Conference on Information and Knowledge Management (CIKM)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
2847 to 2851
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Implicit feedback is widely used in collaborative filtering methods for recommendation. It is well known that implicit feedback contains a large number of values that are missing not at random (MNAR); and the missing data is a mixture of negative and unknown feedback, making it difficult to learn users’ negative preferences. Recent studies modeled exposure, a latent missingness variable which indicates whether an item is exposed to a user, to give each missing entry a confidence of being negative feedback. However, these studies use static models and ignore the information in temporal dependencies among items, which seems to be an essential underlying factor to subsequent missingness. To model and exploit the dynamics of missingness, we propose a latent variable named “user intent” to govern the temporal changes of item missingness, and a hidden Markov model to represent such a process. The resulting framework captures the dynamic item missingness and incorporate it into matrix factorization (MF) for recommendation. We also explore two types of constraints to achieve a more compact and interpretable representation of user intents. Experiments on real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of our method against state-of-the-art recommender systems. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract Motivation

    Despite experimental and curation efforts, the extent of enzyme promiscuity on substrates continues to be largely unexplored and under documented. Providing computational tools for the exploration of the enzyme–substrate interaction space can expedite experimentation and benefit applications such as constructing synthesis pathways for novel biomolecules, identifying products of metabolism on ingested compounds, and elucidating xenobiotic metabolism. Recommender systems (RS), which are currently unexplored for the enzyme–substrate interaction prediction problem, can be utilized to provide enzyme recommendations for substrates, and vice versa. The performance of Collaborative-Filtering (CF) RSs; however, hinges on the quality of embedding vectors of users and items (enzymes and substrates in our case). Importantly, enhancing CF embeddings with heterogeneous auxiliary data, specially relational data (e.g. hierarchical, pairwise or groupings), remains a challenge.

    Results

    We propose an innovative general RS framework, termed Boost-RS that enhances RS performance by ‘boosting’ embedding vectors through auxiliary data. Specifically, Boost-RS is trained and dynamically tuned on multiple relevant auxiliary learning tasks Boost-RS utilizes contrastive learning tasks to exploit relational data. To show the efficacy of Boost-RS for the enzyme–substrate prediction interaction problem, we apply the Boost-RS framework to several baseline CF models. We show that each of our auxiliary tasks boosts learning of the embedding vectors, and that contrastive learning using Boost-RS outperforms attribute concatenation and multi-label learning. We also show that Boost-RS outperforms similarity-based models. Ablation studies and visualization of learned representations highlight the importance of using contrastive learning on some of the auxiliary data in boosting the embedding vectors.

    Availability and implementation

    A Python implementation for Boost-RS is provided at https://github.com/HassounLab/Boost-RS. The enzyme-substrate interaction data is available from the KEGG database (https://www.genome.jp/kegg/).

     
    more » « less
  3. Latent factor models have become a prevalent method in recommender systems, to predict users' preference on items based on the historical user feedback. Most of the existing methods, explicitly or implicitly, are built upon the first-order rating distance principle, which aims to minimize the difference between the estimated and real ratings. In this paper, we generalize such first-order rating distance principle and propose a new latent factor model (HoORaYs) for recommender systems. The core idea of the proposed method is to explore high-order rating distance, which aims to minimize not only (i) the difference between the estimated and real ratings of the same (user, item) pair (i.e., the first-order rating distance), but also (ii) the difference between the estimated and real rating difference of the same user across different items (i.e., the second-order rating distance). We formulate it as a regularized optimization problem, and propose an effective and scalable algorithm to solve it. Our analysis from the geometry and Bayesian perspectives indicate that by exploring the high-order rating distance, it helps to reduce the variance of the estimator, which in turns leads to better generalization performance (e.g., smaller prediction error). We evaluate the proposed method on four real-world data sets, two with explicit user feedback and the other two with implicit user feedback. Experimental results show that the proposed method consistently outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in terms of the prediction accuracy. 
    more » « less
  4. Context has been recognized as an important factor to consider in personalized recommender systems. Particularly in location-based services (LBSs), a fundamental task is to recommend to a mobile user where he/she could be interested to visit next at the right time. Additionally, location-based social networks (LBSNs) allow users to share location-embedded information with friends who often co-occur in the same or nearby points-of-interest (POIs) or share similar POI visiting histories, due to the social homophily theory and Tobler’s first law of geography. So, both the time information and LBSN friendship relations should be utilized for POI recommendation. Tensor completion has recently gained some attention in time-aware recommender systems. The problem decomposes a user-item-time tensor into low-rank embedding matrices of users, items and times using its observed entries, so that the underlying low-rank subspace structure can be tracked to fill the missing entries for time-aware recommendation. However, these tensor completion methods ignore the social-spatial context information available in LBSNs, which is important for POI recommendation since people tend to share their preferences with their friends, and near things are more related than distant things. In this paper, we utilize the side information of social networks and POI locations to enhance the tensor completion model paradigm for more effective time-aware POI recommendation. Specifically, we propose a regularization loss head based on a novel social Hausdorff distance function to optimize the reconstructed tensor. We also quantify the popularity of different POIs with location entropy to prevent very popular POIs from being over-represented hence suppressing the appearance of other more diverse POIs. To address the sensitivity of negative sampling, we train the model on the whole data by treating all unlabeled entries in the observed tensor as negative, and rewriting the loss function in a smart way to reduce the computational cost. Through extensive experiments on real datasets, we demonstrate the superiority of our model over state-of-the-art tensor completion methods. 
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Recent work in recommender systems has emphasized the importance of fairness, with a particular interest in bias and transparency, in addition to predictive accuracy. In this paper, we focus on the state of the art pairwise ranking model, Bayesian Personalized Ranking (BPR), which has previously been found to outperform pointwise models in predictive accuracy, while also being able to handle implicit feedback. Specifically, we address two limitations of BPR: (1) BPR is a black box model that does not explain its outputs, thus limiting the user's trust in the recommendations, and the analyst's ability to scrutinize a model's outputs; and (2) BPR is vulnerable to exposure bias due to the data being Missing Not At Random (MNAR). This exposure bias usually translates into an unfairness against the least popular items because they risk being under-exposed by the recommender system. In this work, we first propose a novel explainable loss function and a corresponding Matrix Factorization-based model called Explainable Bayesian Personalized Ranking (EBPR) that generates recommendations along with item-based explanations. Then, we theoretically quantify additional exposure bias resulting from the explainability, and use it as a basis to propose an unbiased estimator for the ideal EBPR loss. The result is a ranking model that aptly captures both debiased and explainable user preferences. Finally, we perform an empirical study on three real-world datasets that demonstrate the advantages of our proposed models. 
    more » « less