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  1. This paper reports our recent practice of recommending articles to cold-start users at Tencent. Transferring knowledge from information-rich domains to help user modeling is an effective way to address the user-side cold-start problem. Our previous work demonstrated that general-purpose user embeddings based on mobile app usage helped article recommendations. However, high-dimensional embeddings are cumbersome for online usage, thus limiting the adoption. On the other hand, user clustering, which partitions users into several groups, can provide a lightweight, online-friendly, and explainable way to help recommendations. Effective user clustering for article recommendations based on mobile app usage faces unique challenges, including (1) the gap between an active user’s behavior of mobile app usage and article reading, and (2) the gap between mobile app usage patterns of active and cold-start users. To address the challenges, we propose a tailored Dual Alignment User Clustering (DAUC) model, which applies a sample-wise contrastive alignment to liminate the gap between active users’ mobile app usage and article reading behavior, and a distribution-wise adversarial alignment to eliminate the gap between active users’ and cold-start users’ app usage behavior. With DAUC, cold-start recommendation-optimized user clustering based on mobile app usage can be achieved. On top of the user clusters,more »we further build candidate generation strategies, real-time features, and corresponding ranking models without much engineering difficulty. Both online and offline experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of our work.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 15, 2023
  2. Abstract Pear is a major fruit tree crop distributed worldwide, yet its breeding is a very time-consuming process. To facilitate molecular breeding and gene identification, here we have performed genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on eleven fruit traits. We identify 37 loci associated with eight fruit quality traits and five loci associated with three fruit phenological traits. Scans for selective sweeps indicate that traits including fruit stone cell content, organic acid and sugar contents might have been under continuous selection during breeding improvement. One candidate gene, PbrSTONE , identified in GWAS, has been functionally verified to be involved in the regulation of stone cell formation, one of the most important fruit quality traits in pear. Our study provides insights into the complex fruit related biology and identifies genes controlling important traits in pear through GWAS, which extends the genetic resources and basis for facilitating molecular breeding in perennial trees.
  3. Since the discovery of the B 40 borospherene, research interests have been directed to the structural evolution of even larger boron clusters. An interesting question concerns if the borospherene cages persist in larger boron clusters like the fullerenes. Here we report a photoelectron spectroscopy (PES) and computational study on the structures and bonding of B 41 − and B 42 − , the largest boron clusters characterized experimentally thus far. The PE spectra of both clusters display broad and complicated features, suggesting the existence of multiple low-lying isomers. Global minimum searches for B 41 − reveal three low-lying isomers ( I–III ), which are all related to the planar B 40 − structure. Isomer II ( C s , 1 A′) possessing a double hexagonal vacancy is found to agree well with the experiment, while isomers I ( C s , 3 A′′) and III ( C s , 1 A′) both with a single hexagonal vacancy are also present as minor isomers in the experiment. The potential landscape of B 42 − is found to be much more complicated with numerous low-lying isomers ( VII–XII ). The quasi-planar structure VIII ( C 1 , 2 A) containing a doublemore »hexagonal vacancy is found to make major contributions to the observed PE spectrum of B 42 − , while the other low-lying isomers may also be present to give rise to a complicated spectral pattern. Chemical bonding analyses show isomer II of B 41 − ( C s , 1 A′) and isomer VIII of B 42 − ( C 1 , 2 A) are π aromatic, analogous to that in the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon C 27 H 13 + ( C 2v , 1 A 1 ). Borospherene cage isomers are also found for both B 41 − and B 42 − in the global minimum searches, but they are much higher energy isomers.« less