An ensemble method for top-N recommendations from the SVD Academic Article uri icon


  • SVD suffers from computational limitation when delivering top-N items online.An ensemble algorithm for getting top-N items from the SVD results is proposed.The algorithm maps the items to the leaves of multiple compact trees offline.Users are assigned online to one leaf in each tree for obtaining their top-N items.The algorithm delivers faster and more accurate top-N items than the base SVD. Matrix factorization methods such as the singular value decomposition technique have become very popular in the area of recommender systems. Given a rating matrix as input, these techniques output two matrixes with lower dimensional space that represent the user and item features. The relevance of item i to user u is revealed by the score of the dot product between u vector of features and i vector of features. High scores indicate greater relevance. In order to deliver the best recommendations for a given user based on these latent features, one must obtain the list of scores of all the items for the given user and sort the resulting list. When the size of the catalogue is large, this phase consumes a large amount of computational time and cannot be done online. Another drawback with this approach is that once such a list is computed for a given user, it remains finite and it is impossible to incorporate within it new activities of the user. Hence, the use of such techniques is limited online.In this paper we propose an ensemble method for building a forest of trees offline, where each leaf in each tree is holding a unique set of item vectors. Once a user is engaged with the system, its vector is classified to one leaf in each one of the trees in the forest for conducting a dot product with the corresponding items. By using this method we compute online only a small number of dot products for a given user vector allowing us to quickly retrieve dynamic recommendations from the SVD, thereby presenting an alternative to the existing method which computes and caches all of the dot products among the items and users. The method maps the items to the leaves of multiple compact trees offline, each tree is a weak recommendation model, creating a forest of decision trees algorithm in which users that are assigned to these leaves online are likely to produce high dot product scores with the items that are already in the leaves. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the suggested ensemble method by applying it to three public datasets and comparing it to a state-of-the-art algorithm aimed at solving the problem.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016