Online Interactive Collaborative Filtering Using Multi-Armed Bandit with Dependent Arms

Qing Wang, Chunqiu Zeng, Wubai Zhou, Tao Li, Larisa Shwartz, Genady Ya. Grabarnik

Online interactive recommender systems strive to promptly suggest to consumers appropriate items (e.g., movies, news articles) according to the current context including both the consumer and item content information. However, such context information is often unavailable in practice for the recommendation, where only the users' interaction data on items can be utilized. Moreover, the lack of interaction records, especially for new users and items, worsens the performance of recommendation further. To address these issues, collaborative filtering (CF), one of the recommendation techniques relying on the interaction data only, as well as the online multi-armed bandit mechanisms, capable of achieving the balance between exploitation and exploration, are adopted in the online interactive recommendation settings, by assuming independent items (i.e., arms). Nonetheless, the assumption rarely holds in reality, since the real-world items tend to be correlated with each other (e.g., two articles with similar topics). In this paper, we study online interactive collaborative filtering problems by considering the dependencies among items. We explicitly formulate the item dependencies as the clusters on arms, where the arms within a single cluster share the similar latent topics. In light of the topic modeling techniques, we come up with a generative model to generate the items from their underlying topics. Furthermore, an efficient online algorithm based on particle learning is developed for inferring both latent parameters and states of our model. Additionally, our inferred model can be naturally integrated with existing multi-armed selection strategies in the online interactive collaborating setting. Empirical studies on two real-world applications, online recommendations of movies and news, demonstrate both the effectiveness and efficiency of the proposed approach.

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