NAIS: Neural Attentive Item Similarity Model for Recommendation

by   Xiangnan He, et al.

Item-to-item collaborative filtering (aka. item-based CF) has been long used for building recommender systems in industrial settings, owing to its interpretability and efficiency in real-time personalization. It builds a user's profile as her historically interacted items, recommending new items that are similar to the user's profile. As such, the key to an item-based CF method is in the estimation of item similarities. Early approaches use statistical measures such as cosine similarity and Pearson coefficient to estimate item similarities, which are less accurate since they lack tailored optimization for the recommendation task. In recent years, several works attempt to learn item similarities from data, by expressing the similarity as an underlying model and estimating model parameters by optimizing a recommendation-aware objective function. While extensive efforts have been made to use shallow linear models for learning item similarities, there has been relatively less work exploring nonlinear neural network models for item-based CF. In this work, we propose a neural network model named Neural Attentive Item Similarity model (NAIS) for item-based CF. The key to our design of NAIS is an attention network, which is capable of distinguishing which historical items in a user profile are more important for a prediction. Compared to the state-of-the-art item-based CF method Factored Item Similarity Model (FISM), our NAIS has stronger representation power with only a few additional parameters brought by the attention network. Extensive experiments on two public benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of NAIS. This work is the first attempt that designs neural network models for item-based CF, opening up new research possibilities for future developments of neural recommender systems.


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