Towards Personalized Cold-Start Recommendation with Prompts

by   Xuansheng Wu, et al.

Recommender systems play a crucial role in helping users discover information that aligns with their interests based on their past behaviors. However, developing personalized recommendation systems becomes challenging when historical records of user-item interactions are unavailable, leading to what is known as the system cold-start recommendation problem. This issue is particularly prominent in start-up businesses or platforms with insufficient user engagement history. Previous studies focus on user or item cold-start scenarios, where systems could make recommendations for new users or items but are still trained with historical user-item interactions in the same domain, which cannot solve our problem. To bridge the gap, our research introduces an innovative and effective approach, capitalizing on the capabilities of pre-trained language models. We transform the recommendation process into sentiment analysis of natural languages containing information of user profiles and item attributes, where the sentiment polarity is predicted with prompt learning. By harnessing the extensive knowledge housed within language models, the prediction can be made without historical user-item interaction records. A benchmark is also introduced to evaluate the proposed method under the cold-start setting, and the results demonstrate the effectiveness of our method. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to tackle the system cold-start recommendation problem. The benchmark and implementation of the method are available at


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