Variational Autoencoders for Top-K Recommendation with Implicit Feedback


Variational Autoencoders (VAEs) have shown to be effective for recommender systems with implicit feedback (e.g., browsing history, purchasing patterns, etc.). However, a little attention is given to ensembles of VAEs, that can learn user and item representations jointly. We introduce Joint Variational Autoencoder (JoVA), an ensemble of two VAEs, which jointly learns both user and item representations to predict user preferences. This design allows JoVA to capture user-user and item-item correlations simultaneously. We also introduce JoVA-Hinge, a JoVA’s extension with a hinge-based pairwise loss function, to further specialize it in recommendation with implicit feedback. Our extensive experiments on four real-world datasets demonstrate that JoVA-Hinge outperforms a broad set of state-of-the-art methods under a variety of commonly-used metrics. Our empirical results also illustrate the effectiveness of JoVA-Hinge for handling users with limited training data.

In Proceedings of The 44th International ACM SIGIR Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR’21).