Modeling Online Behavior in Recommender Systems: The Importance of Temporal Context [article]

Milena Filipovic, Blagoj Mitrevski, Diego Antognini, Emma Lejal Glaude, Boi Faltings, Claudiu Musat
2021 arXiv   pre-print
Recommender systems research tends to evaluate model performance offline and on randomly sampled targets, yet the same systems are later used to predict user behavior sequentially from a fixed point in time. Simulating online recommender system performance is notoriously difficult and the discrepancy between online and offline behaviors is typically not accounted for in offline evaluations. This disparity permits weaknesses to go unnoticed until the model is deployed in a production setting. In
more » ... this paper, we first demonstrate how omitting temporal context when evaluating recommender system performance leads to false confidence. To overcome this, we postulate that offline evaluation protocols can only model real-life use-cases if they account for temporal context. Next, we propose a training procedure to further embed the temporal context in existing models. We use a multi-objective approach to introduce temporal context into traditionally time-unaware recommender systems and confirm its advantage via the proposed evaluation protocol. Finally, we validate that the Pareto Fronts obtained with the added objective dominate those produced by state-of-the-art models that are only optimized for accuracy on three real-world publicly available datasets. The results show that including our temporal objective can improve recall@20 by up to 20%.
arXiv:2009.08978v3 fatcat:k5vnxo2bzzdprecculsrnr5dri