One-Shot Session Recommendation Systems with Combinatorial Items

by   Yahel David, et al.

In recent years, content recommendation systems in large websites (or content providers) capture an increased focus. While the type of content varies, e.g. movies, articles, music, advertisements, etc., the high level problem remains the same. Based on knowledge obtained so far on the user, recommend the most desired content. In this paper we present a method to handle the well known user-cold-start problem in recommendation systems. In this scenario, a recommendation system encounters a new user and the objective is to present items as relevant as possible with the hope of keeping the user's session as long as possible. We formulate an optimization problem aimed to maximize the length of this initial session, as this is believed to be the key to have the user come back and perhaps register to the system. In particular, our model captures the fact that a single round with low quality recommendation is likely to terminate the session. In such a case, we do not proceed to the next round as the user leaves the system, possibly never to seen again. We denote this phenomenon a One-Shot Session. Our optimization problem is formulated as an MDP where the action space is of a combinatorial nature as we recommend in each round, multiple items. This huge action space presents a computational challenge making the straightforward solution intractable. We analyze the structure of the MDP to prove monotone and submodular like properties that allow a computationally efficient solution via a method denoted by Greedy Value Iteration (G-VI).


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