Supercharging Recommender Systems using Taxonomies for Learning User Purchase Behavior [article]

Bhargav Kanagal, Amr Ahmed, Sandeep Pandey, Vanja Josifovski, Jeff Yuan, Lluis Garcia-Pueyo
<span title="2012-06-30">2012</span> <i > arXiv </i> &nbsp; <span class="release-stage" >pre-print</span>
Recommender systems based on latent factor models have been effectively used for understanding user interests and predicting future actions. Such models work by projecting the users and items into a smaller dimensional space, thereby clustering similar users and items together and subsequently compute similarity between unknown user-item pairs. When user-item interactions are sparse (sparsity problem) or when new items continuously appear (cold start problem), these models perform poorly. In
more &raquo; ... s paper, we exploit the combination of taxonomies and latent factor models to mitigate these issues and improve recommendation accuracy. We observe that taxonomies provide structure similar to that of a latent factor model: namely, it imposes human-labeled categories (clusters) over items. This leads to our proposed taxonomy-aware latent factor model (TF) which combines taxonomies and latent factors using additive models. We develop efficient algorithms to train the TF models, which scales to large number of users/items and develop scalable inference/recommendation algorithms by exploiting the structure of the taxonomy. In addition, we extend the TF model to account for the temporal dynamics of user interests using high-order Markov chains. To deal with large-scale data, we develop a parallel multi-core implementation of our TF model. We empirically evaluate the TF model for the task of predicting user purchases using a real-world shopping dataset spanning more than a million users and products. Our experiments demonstrate the benefits of using our TF models over existing approaches, in terms of both prediction accuracy and running time.
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