ICMT: Item Cluster-Wise Multi-Objective Training for Long-Tail Recommendation

by   Yule Wang, et al.

Item recommendation based on historical user-item interactions is of vital importance for web-based services. However, the data used to train a recommender system (RS) suffers from severe popularity bias. Interactions of a small fraction of popular (head) items account for almost the whole training data. Normal training methods from such biased data tend to repetitively generate recommendations from the head items, which further exacerbates the data bias and affects the exploration of potentially interesting items from niche (tail) items. In this paper, we explore the central theme of long-tail recommendation. Through an empirical study, we find that head items are very likely to be recommended due to the fact that the gradients coming from head items dominate the overall gradient update process, which further affects the optimization of tail items. To this end, we propose a general framework namely Item Cluster-Wise Multi-Objective Training (ICMT) for long-tail recommendation. Firstly, the disentangled representation learning is utilized to identify the popularity impact behind user-item interactions. Then item clusters are adaptively formulated according to the disentangled popularity representation. After that, we consider the learning over the whole training data as a weighted aggregation of multiple item cluster-wise objectives, which can be resolved through a Pareto-Efficient solver for a harmonious overall gradient direction. Besides, a contractive loss focusing on model robustness is derived as a regularization term. We instantiate ICMT with three state-of-the-art recommendation models and conduct experiments on three real-world datasets. the proposed ICMT significantly improves the overall recommendation performance, especially on tail items.


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