Overcoming Data Sparsity in Group Recommendation

by   Hongzhi Yin, et al.

It has been an important task for recommender systems to suggest satisfying activities to a group of users in people's daily social life. The major challenge in this task is how to aggregate personal preferences of group members to infer the decision of a group. Conventional group recommendation methods applied a predefined strategy for preference aggregation. However, these static strategies are too simple to model the real and complex process of group decision-making, especially for occasional groups which are formed ad-hoc. Moreover, group members should have non-uniform influences or weights in a group, and the weight of a user can be varied in different groups. Therefore, an ideal group recommender system should be able to accurately learn not only users' personal preferences but also the preference aggregation strategy from data. In this paper, we propose a novel end-to-end group recommender system named CAGR (short for Centrality Aware Group Recommender"), which takes Bipartite Graph Embedding Model (BGEM), the self-attention mechanism and Graph Convolutional Networks (GCNs) as basic building blocks to learn group and user representations in a unified way. Specifically, we first extend BGEM to model group-item interactions, and then in order to overcome the limitation and sparsity of the interaction data generated by occasional groups, we propose a self-attentive mechanism to represent groups based on the group members. In addition, to overcome the sparsity issue of user-item interaction data, we leverage the user social networks to enhance user representation learning, obtaining centrality-aware user representations. We create three large-scale benchmark datasets and conduct extensive experiments on them. The experimental results show the superiority of our proposed CAGR by comparing it with state-of-the-art group recommender models.



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