GateFormer: Speeding Up News Feed Recommendation with Input Gated Transformers

Peitian Zhang, Zheng Liu

News feed recommendation is an important web service. In recent years, pre-trained language models (PLMs) have been intensively applied to improve the recommendation quality. However, the utilization of these deep models is limited in many aspects, such as lack of explainability and being incompatible with the existing inverted index systems. Above all, the PLMs based recommenders are inefficient, as the encoding of user-side information will take huge computation costs. Although the computation can be accelerated with efficient transformers or distilled PLMs, it is still not enough to make timely recommendations for the active users, who are associated with super long news browsing histories. In this work, we tackle the efficient news recommendation problem from a distinctive perspective. Instead of relying on the entire input (i.e., the collection of news articles a user ever browsed), we argue that the user's interest can be fully captured merely with those representative keywords. Motivated by this, we propose GateFormer, where the input data is gated before feeding into transformers. The gating module is made personalized, lightweight and end-to-end learnable, such that it may perform accurate and efficient filtering of informative user input. GateFormer achieves highly impressive performances in experiments, where it notably outperforms the existing acceleration approaches in both accuracy and efficiency. We also surprisingly find that even with over 10-fold compression of the original input, GateFormer is still able to maintain on-par performances with the SOTA methods.

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