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Linear, or Non-Linear, That is the Question!

by   Taeyong Kong, et al.

There were fierce debates on whether the non-linear embedding propagation of GCNs is appropriate to GCN-based recommender systems. It was recently found that the linear embedding propagation shows better accuracy than the non-linear embedding propagation. Since this phenomenon was discovered especially in recommender systems, it is required that we carefully analyze the linearity and non-linearity issue. In this work, therefore, we revisit the issues of i) which of the linear or non-linear propagation is better and ii) which factors of users/items decide the linearity/non-linearity of the embedding propagation. We propose a novel Hybrid Method of Linear and non-linEar collaborative filTering method (HMLET, pronounced as Hamlet). In our design, there exist both linear and non-linear propagation steps, when processing each user or item node, and our gating module chooses one of them, which results in a hybrid model of the linear and non-linear GCN-based collaborative filtering (CF). The proposed model yields the best accuracy in three public benchmark datasets. Moreover, we classify users/items into the following three classes depending on our gating modules' selections: Full-Non-Linearity (FNL), Partial-Non-Linearity (PNL), and Full-Linearity (FL). We found that there exist strong correlations between nodes' centrality and their class membership, i.e., important user/item nodes exhibit more preferences towards the non-linearity during the propagation steps. To our knowledge, we are the first who design a hybrid method and report the correlation between the graph centrality and the linearity/non-linearity of nodes. All HMLET codes and datasets are available at:


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