Top-N-Rank: A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems

Junjie Liang, Jinlong Hu, Shoubin Dong, Vasant Gajanan Honavar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

We propose Top-N-Rank, a novel family of list-wise Learning-to-Rank models for reliably recommending the N top-ranked items. The proposed models optimize a variant of the widely used cumulative discounted gain (DCG) objective function which differs from DCG in two important aspects: (i) It limits the evaluation of DCG only on the top N items in the ranked lists, thereby eliminating the impact of low-ranked items on the learned ranking function; and (ii) it incorporates weights that allow the model to leverage multiple types of implicit feedback with differing levels of reliability or trustworthiness. Because the resulting objective function is non-smooth and hence challenging to optimize, we consider two smooth approximations of the objective function, using the traditional sigmoid function and the rectified linear unit (ReLU). We propose a family of learning-to-rank algorithms (Top-N-Rank) that work with any smooth objective function. Then, a more efficient variant, Top-N-Rank.ReLU, is introduced, which effectively exploits the properties of ReLU function to reduce the computational complexity of Top-N-Rank from quadratic to linear in the average number of items rated by users. The results of our experiments using two widely used benchmarks, namely, the MovieLens data set and the Amazon Video Games data set demonstrate that: (i) The »top-N truncation» of the objective function substantially improves the ranking quality of the top N recommendations; (ii) using the ReLU for smoothing the objective function yields significant improvement in both ranking quality as well as runtime as compared to using the sigmoid; and (iii) Top-N-Rank.ReLU substantially outperforms the well-performing list-wise ranking methods in terms of ranking quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018
EditorsYang Song, Bing Liu, Kisung Lee, Naoki Abe, Calton Pu, Mu Qiao, Nesreen Ahmed, Donald Kossmann, Jeffrey Saltz, Jiliang Tang, Jingrui He, Huan Liu, Xiaohua Hu
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Pages1052-1058
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781538650356
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 22 2019
Event2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Dec 10 2018Dec 13 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018

Conference

Conference2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018
CountryUnited States
CitySeattle
Period12/10/1812/13/18

Fingerprint

Recommender systems
Computational complexity
Feedback

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems

Cite this

Liang, J., Hu, J., Dong, S., & Honavar, V. G. (2019). Top-N-Rank: A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems. In Y. Song, B. Liu, K. Lee, N. Abe, C. Pu, M. Qiao, N. Ahmed, D. Kossmann, J. Saltz, J. Tang, J. He, H. Liu, ... X. Hu (Eds.), Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018 (pp. 1052-1058). [8621994] (Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018). Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.. https://doi.org/10.1109/BigData.2018.8621994
Liang, Junjie ; Hu, Jinlong ; Dong, Shoubin ; Honavar, Vasant Gajanan. / Top-N-Rank : A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems. Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018. editor / Yang Song ; Bing Liu ; Kisung Lee ; Naoki Abe ; Calton Pu ; Mu Qiao ; Nesreen Ahmed ; Donald Kossmann ; Jeffrey Saltz ; Jiliang Tang ; Jingrui He ; Huan Liu ; Xiaohua Hu. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2019. pp. 1052-1058 (Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018).
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abstract = "We propose Top-N-Rank, a novel family of list-wise Learning-to-Rank models for reliably recommending the N top-ranked items. The proposed models optimize a variant of the widely used cumulative discounted gain (DCG) objective function which differs from DCG in two important aspects: (i) It limits the evaluation of DCG only on the top N items in the ranked lists, thereby eliminating the impact of low-ranked items on the learned ranking function; and (ii) it incorporates weights that allow the model to leverage multiple types of implicit feedback with differing levels of reliability or trustworthiness. Because the resulting objective function is non-smooth and hence challenging to optimize, we consider two smooth approximations of the objective function, using the traditional sigmoid function and the rectified linear unit (ReLU). We propose a family of learning-to-rank algorithms (Top-N-Rank) that work with any smooth objective function. Then, a more efficient variant, Top-N-Rank.ReLU, is introduced, which effectively exploits the properties of ReLU function to reduce the computational complexity of Top-N-Rank from quadratic to linear in the average number of items rated by users. The results of our experiments using two widely used benchmarks, namely, the MovieLens data set and the Amazon Video Games data set demonstrate that: (i) The »top-N truncation» of the objective function substantially improves the ranking quality of the top N recommendations; (ii) using the ReLU for smoothing the objective function yields significant improvement in both ranking quality as well as runtime as compared to using the sigmoid; and (iii) Top-N-Rank.ReLU substantially outperforms the well-performing list-wise ranking methods in terms of ranking quality.",
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Liang, J, Hu, J, Dong, S & Honavar, VG 2019, Top-N-Rank: A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems. in Y Song, B Liu, K Lee, N Abe, C Pu, M Qiao, N Ahmed, D Kossmann, J Saltz, J Tang, J He, H Liu & X Hu (eds), Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018., 8621994, Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., pp. 1052-1058, 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018, Seattle, United States, 12/10/18. https://doi.org/10.1109/BigData.2018.8621994

Top-N-Rank : A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems. / Liang, Junjie; Hu, Jinlong; Dong, Shoubin; Honavar, Vasant Gajanan.

Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018. ed. / Yang Song; Bing Liu; Kisung Lee; Naoki Abe; Calton Pu; Mu Qiao; Nesreen Ahmed; Donald Kossmann; Jeffrey Saltz; Jiliang Tang; Jingrui He; Huan Liu; Xiaohua Hu. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc., 2019. p. 1052-1058 8621994 (Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

TY - GEN

T1 - Top-N-Rank

T2 - A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems

AU - Liang, Junjie

AU - Hu, Jinlong

AU - Dong, Shoubin

AU - Honavar, Vasant Gajanan

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N2 - We propose Top-N-Rank, a novel family of list-wise Learning-to-Rank models for reliably recommending the N top-ranked items. The proposed models optimize a variant of the widely used cumulative discounted gain (DCG) objective function which differs from DCG in two important aspects: (i) It limits the evaluation of DCG only on the top N items in the ranked lists, thereby eliminating the impact of low-ranked items on the learned ranking function; and (ii) it incorporates weights that allow the model to leverage multiple types of implicit feedback with differing levels of reliability or trustworthiness. Because the resulting objective function is non-smooth and hence challenging to optimize, we consider two smooth approximations of the objective function, using the traditional sigmoid function and the rectified linear unit (ReLU). We propose a family of learning-to-rank algorithms (Top-N-Rank) that work with any smooth objective function. Then, a more efficient variant, Top-N-Rank.ReLU, is introduced, which effectively exploits the properties of ReLU function to reduce the computational complexity of Top-N-Rank from quadratic to linear in the average number of items rated by users. The results of our experiments using two widely used benchmarks, namely, the MovieLens data set and the Amazon Video Games data set demonstrate that: (i) The »top-N truncation» of the objective function substantially improves the ranking quality of the top N recommendations; (ii) using the ReLU for smoothing the objective function yields significant improvement in both ranking quality as well as runtime as compared to using the sigmoid; and (iii) Top-N-Rank.ReLU substantially outperforms the well-performing list-wise ranking methods in terms of ranking quality.

AB - We propose Top-N-Rank, a novel family of list-wise Learning-to-Rank models for reliably recommending the N top-ranked items. The proposed models optimize a variant of the widely used cumulative discounted gain (DCG) objective function which differs from DCG in two important aspects: (i) It limits the evaluation of DCG only on the top N items in the ranked lists, thereby eliminating the impact of low-ranked items on the learned ranking function; and (ii) it incorporates weights that allow the model to leverage multiple types of implicit feedback with differing levels of reliability or trustworthiness. Because the resulting objective function is non-smooth and hence challenging to optimize, we consider two smooth approximations of the objective function, using the traditional sigmoid function and the rectified linear unit (ReLU). We propose a family of learning-to-rank algorithms (Top-N-Rank) that work with any smooth objective function. Then, a more efficient variant, Top-N-Rank.ReLU, is introduced, which effectively exploits the properties of ReLU function to reduce the computational complexity of Top-N-Rank from quadratic to linear in the average number of items rated by users. The results of our experiments using two widely used benchmarks, namely, the MovieLens data set and the Amazon Video Games data set demonstrate that: (i) The »top-N truncation» of the objective function substantially improves the ranking quality of the top N recommendations; (ii) using the ReLU for smoothing the objective function yields significant improvement in both ranking quality as well as runtime as compared to using the sigmoid; and (iii) Top-N-Rank.ReLU substantially outperforms the well-performing list-wise ranking methods in terms of ranking quality.

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A2 - Song, Yang

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Liang J, Hu J, Dong S, Honavar VG. Top-N-Rank: A Scalable List-wise Ranking Method for Recommender Systems. In Song Y, Liu B, Lee K, Abe N, Pu C, Qiao M, Ahmed N, Kossmann D, Saltz J, Tang J, He J, Liu H, Hu X, editors, Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. 2019. p. 1052-1058. 8621994. (Proceedings - 2018 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Big Data 2018). https://doi.org/10.1109/BigData.2018.8621994