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  1. 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. 
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  2. Quasi-cliques are a type of dense subgraphs that generalize the notion of cliques, important for applications such as community/module detection in various social and biological networks. However, the existing quasi-clique definition and algorithms are only applicable to undirected graphs. In this paper, we generalize the concept of quasi-cliques to directed graphs by proposing $(\gamma_1, \gamma_2)$-quasi-cliques which have density requirements in both inbound and outbound directions of each vertex in a quasi-clique subgraph. An efficient recursive algorithm is proposed to find maximal $(\gamma_1, \gamma_2)$-quasi-cliques which integrates many effective pruning rules that are validated by ablation studies. We also study the finding of top-$k$ large quasi-cliques directly by bootstrapping the search from more compact quasi-cliques, to scale the mining to larger networks. The algorithms are parallelized with effective load balancing, and we demonstrate that they can scale up effectively with the number of CPU cores. 
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  3. Given a data matrix 𝐷, a submatrix 𝑆 of 𝐷 is an order-preserving submatrix (OPSM) if there is a permutation of the columns of 𝑆, under which the entry values of each row in 𝑆 are strictly increasing. OPSM mining is widely used in real-life applications such as identifying coexpressed genes and finding customers with similar preference. However, noise is ubiquitous in real data matrices due to variable experimental conditions and measurement errors, which makes conventional OPSM mining algorithms inapplicable. No previous work on OPSM has ever considered uncertain value intervals using the well-established possible world semantics. We establish two different definitions of significant OPSMs based on the possible world semantics: (1) expected support-based and (2) probabilistic frequentness-based. An optimized dynamic programming approach is proposed to compute the probability that a row supports a particular column permutation, with a closed-form formula derived to efficiently handle the special case of uniform value distribution and an accurate cubic spline approximation approach that works well with any uncertain value distributions. To efficiently check the probabilistic frequentness, several effective pruning rules are designed to efficiently prune insignificant OPSMs; two approximation techniques based on the Poisson and Gaussian distributions, respectively, are proposed for further speedup. These techniques are integrated into our two OPSM mining algorithms, based on prefix-projection and Apriori, respectively. We further parallelize our prefix-projection-based mining algorithm using PrefixFPM, a recently proposed framework for parallel frequent pattern mining, and we achieve a good speedup with the number of CPU cores. Extensive experiments on real microarray data demonstrate that the OPSMs found by our algorithms have a much higher quality than those found by existing approaches. 
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  4. Finding from a big graph those subgraphs that satisfy certain conditions is useful in many applications such as community detection and subgraph matching. These problems have a high time complexity, but existing systems that attempt to scale them are all IO-bound in execution. We propose the first truly CPU-bound distributed framework called G-thinker for subgraph finding algorithms, which adopts a task-based computation model, and which also provides a user-friendly subgraph-centric vertex-pulling API for writing distributed subgraph finding algorithms that can be easily adapted from existing serial algorithms. To utilize all CPU cores of a cluster, G-thinker features (1) a highly concurrent vertex cache for parallel task access and (2) a lightweight task scheduling approach that ensures high task throughput. These designs well overlap communication with computation to minimize the idle time of CPU cores. To further improve load balancing on graphs where the workloads of individual tasks can be drastically different due to biased graph density distribution, we propose to prioritize the scheduling of those tasks that tend to be long running for processing and decomposition, plus a timeout mechanism for task decomposition to prevent long-running straggler tasks. The idea has been integrated into a novelty algorithm for maximum clique finding (MCF) that adopts a hybrid task decomposition strategy, which significantly improves the running time of MCF on dense and large graphs: The algorithm finds a maximum clique of size 1,109 on a large and dense WikiLinks graph dataset in 70 minutes. Extensive experiments demonstrate that G-thinker achieves orders of magnitude speedup compared even with the fastest existing subgraph-centric system, and it scales well to much larger and denser real network data. G-thinker is open-sourced at http://bit.ly/gthinker with detailed documentation. 
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  5. A frequent pattern is a substructure that appears in a database with frequency (aka. support) no less than a user-specified threshold, while a closed pattern is one that has no super-pattern that has the same support. Here, a substructure can refer to different structural forms, such as itemsets, subsequences, subtrees, and subgraphs, and mining such substructures is important in many real applications such as product recommendation and feature extraction. Currently, there lacks a general programming framework that can be easily customized to mine different types of patterns, and existing parallel and distributed solutions are IO-bound rendering CPU cores underutilized. Since mining frequent and/or closed patterns are NP-hard, it is important to fully utilize the available CPU cores. This paper presents such a general-purpose framework called PrefixFPM. The framework is based on the idea of prefix projection which allows a divide-and-conquer mining paradigm. PrefixFPM exposes a unified programming interface to users who can readily customize it to mine their desired patterns. We have adapted the state-of-the-art serial algorithms for mining patterns including subsequences, subtrees, and subgraphs on top of PrefixFPM, and extensive experiments demonstrate an excellent speedup ratio of PrefixFPM with the number of CPU cores. 
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  6. Given a user-specified minimum degree threshold γ, a γ-quasi-clique is a subgraph where each vertex connects to at least γ fraction of the other vertices. Quasi-clique is a natural definition for dense structures, so finding large and hence statistically significant quasi-cliques is useful in applications such as community detection in social networks and discovering significant biomolecule structures and pathways. However, mining maximal quasi-cliques is notoriously expensive, and even a recent algorithm for mining large maximal quasi-cliques is flawed and can lead to a lot of repeated searches. This paper proposes a parallel solution for mining maximal quasi-cliques that is able to fully utilize CPU cores. Our solution utilizes divide and conquer to decompose the workloads into independent tasks for parallel mining, and we addressed the problem of (i) drastic load imbalance among different tasks and (ii) difficulty in predicting the task running time and the time growth with task subgraph size, by (a) using a timeout-based task decomposition strategy, and by (b) utilizing a priority task queue to schedule long-running tasks earlier for mining and decomposition to avoid stragglers. Unlike our conference version in PVLDB 2020 where the solution was built on a distributed graph mining framework called G-thinker, this paper targets a single-machine multi-core environment which is more accessible to an average end user. A general framework called T-thinker is developed to facilitate the programming of parallel programs for algorithms that adopt divide and conquer, including but not limited to our quasi-clique mining algorithm. Additionally, we consider the problem of directly mining large quasi-cliques from dense parts of a graph, where we identify the repeated search issue of a recent method and address it using a carefully designed concurrent trie data structure. Extensive experiments verify that our parallel solution scales well with the number of CPU cores, achieving 26.68× runtime speedup when mining a graph with 3.77M vertices and 16.5M edges with 32 mining threads. Additionally, mining large quasi-cliques from dense parts can provide an additional speedup of up to 89.46×. 
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  7. Decision trees and tree ensembles are popular supervised learning models on tabular data. Two recent research trends on tree models stand out: (1) bigger and deeper models with many trees, and (2) scalable distributed training frameworks. However, existing implementations on distributed systems are IO-bound leaving CPU cores underutilized. They also only find best node-splitting conditions approximately due to row-based data partitioning scheme. In this paper, we target the exact training of tree models by effectively utilizing the available CPU cores. The resulting system called TreeServer adopts a column-based data partitioning scheme to minimize communication, and a node-centric task-based engine to fully explore the CPU parallelism. Experiments show that TreeServer is up to 10x faster than models in Spark MLlib. We also showcase TreeServer's high training throughput by using it to build big "deep forest" models. 
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  9. Matrix completion is a well-known approach for recommender systems. It predicts the values of the missing entries in a sparse user-item interaction matrix, based on the low-rank structure of the rating matrix. However, existing matrix completion methods do not take node polysemy and side information of social relationships into consideration, which can otherwise further improve the performance. In this paper, we propose a novel matrix completion method that employs both users’ friendships and rating entries to predict the missing values in a user-item matrix. Our approach adopts a graph-based modeling where nodes are users and items, and two types of edges are considered: user friendships and user-item interactions. Polysemy-aware node features are extracted from this heterogeneous graph through a graph convolution network by considering the multifaceted factors for edge formation, which are then connected to a hybrid loss function with two heads: (1) a social-homophily head to address node polysemy, and (2) an error head for user-item rating regression. The latter is formulated on all matrix entries to combat the sensitivity of negative sampling of the vast majority of missing entries during training, with a smart technique to reduce the time complexity. Extensive experiments over real datasets verify that our model outperforms the state-of-the-art matrix completion methods by a significant margin. 
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    Mining frequent subtree patterns in a tree database (or, forest) is useful in domains such as bioinformatics and mining semi-structured data. We consider the problem of mining embedded subtrees in a database of rooted, labeled, and ordered trees. We compare two existing serial mining algorithms, PrefixTreeSpan and TreeMiner, and adapt them for parallel execution using PrefixFPM, our general-purpose framework for frequent pattern mining that is designed to effectively utilize the CPU cores in a multicore machine. Our experiments show that TreeMiner is faster than its successor PrefixTreeSpan when a limited number of CPU cores are used, as the total mining workloads is smaller; however, PrefixTreeSpan has a much higher speedup ratio and can beat TreeMiner when given enough CPU cores. 
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