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  1. We consider the semi-supervised dimension reduction problem: given a high dimensional dataset with a small number of labeled data and huge number of unlabeled data, the goal is to find the low-dimensional embedding that yields good classification results. Most of the previous algorithms for this task are linkage-based algorithms. They try to enforce the must-link and cannot-link constraints in dimension reduction, leading to a nearest neighbor classifier in low dimensional space. In this paper, we propose a new hyperplane-based semi-supervised dimension reduction method---the main objective is to learn the low-dimensional features that can both approximate the original data and form a good separating hyperplane. We formulate this as a non-convex optimization problem and propose an efficient algorithm to solve it. The algorithm can scale to problems with millions of features and can easily incorporate non-negative constraints in order to learn interpretable non-negative features. Experiments on real world datasets demonstrate that our hyperplane-based dimension reduction method outperforms state-of-art linkage-based methods when very few labels are available. 
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  2. Maximum Inner Product Search (MIPS) is an important task in many machine learning applications such as the prediction phase of low-rank matrix factorization models and deep learning models. Recently, there has been substantial research on how to perform MIPS in sub-linear time, but most of the existing work does not have the flexibility to control the trade-off between search efficiency and search quality. In this paper, we study the important problem of MIPS with a computational budget. By carefully studying the problem structure of MIPS, we develop a novel Greedy-MIPS algorithm, which can handle budgeted MIPS by design. While simple and intuitive, Greedy-MIPS yields surprisingly superior performance compared to state-of-the-art approaches. As a specific example, on a candidate set containing half a million vectors of dimension 200, Greedy-MIPS runs 200x faster than the naive approach while yielding search results with the top-5 precision greater than 75%. 
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  3. Recommendation for e-commerce with a mix of durable and nondurable goods has characteristics that distinguish it from the well-studied media recommendation problem. The demand for items is a combined effect of form utility and time utility, i.e., a product must both be intrinsically appealing to a consumer and the time must be right for purchase. In particular for durable goods, time utility is a function of inter-purchase duration within product category because consumers are unlikely to purchase two items in the same category in close temporal succession. Moreover, purchase data, in contrast to rating data, is implicit with non-purchases not necessarily indicating dislike. Together, these issues give rise to the positive-unlabeled demand-aware recommendation problem that we pose via joint low-rank tensor completion and product category inter-purchase duration vector estimation. We further relax this problem and propose a highly scalable alternating minimization approach with which we can solve problems with millions of users and millions of items in a single thread. We also show superior prediction accuracies on multiple real-world datasets. 
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  4. 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. 
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