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NISER: Normalized Item and Session Representations with Graph Neural Networks

by   Priyanka Gupta, et al.
Tata Consultancy Services

The goal of session-based recommendation (SR) models is to utilize the information from past actions (e.g. item/product clicks) in a session to recommend items that a user is likely to click next. Recently it has been shown that the sequence of item interactions in a session can be modeled as graph-structured data to better account for complex item transitions. Graph neural networks (GNNs) can learn useful representations for such session-graphs, and have been shown to improve over sequential models such as recurrent neural networks [14]. However, we note that these GNN-based recommendation models suffer from popularity bias: the models are biased towards recommending popular items, and fail to recommend relevant long-tail items (less popular or less frequent items). Therefore, these models perform poorly for the less popular new items arriving daily in a practical online setting. We demonstrate that this issue is, in part, related to the magnitude or norm of the learned item and session-graph representations (embedding vectors). We propose a training procedure that mitigates this issue by using normalized representations. The models using normalized item and session-graph representations perform significantly better: i. for the less popular long-tail items in the offline setting, and ii. for the less popular newly introduced items in the online setting. Furthermore, our approach significantly improves upon existing state-of-the-art on three benchmark datasets.


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