Mitigating Popularity Bias in Recommendation with Unbalanced Interactions: A Gradient Perspective
This research was partially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) via the grant numbers: 2040950, 2006889, 2045567.
2022 IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM)
Recommender systems learn from historical user-item interactions to identify preferred items for target users. These observed interactions are usually unbalanced following a long-tailed distribution. Such long-tailed data lead to popularity bias to recommend popular but not personalized items to users. We present a gradient perspective to understand two negative impacts of popularity bias in recommendation model optimization: (i) the gradient direction of popular item embeddings is closer to that of positive interactions, and (ii) the magnitude of positive gradient for popular items are much greater than that of unpopular items. To address these issues, we propose a simple yet efficient framework to mitigate popularity bias from a gradient perspective. Specifically, we first normalize each user embedding and record accumulated gradients of users and items via popularity bias measures in model training. To address the popularity bias issues, we develop a gradient-based embedding adjustment approach used in model testing. This strategy is generic, model-agnostic, and can be seamlessly integrated into most existing recommender systems. Our extensive experiments on two classic recommendation models and four real-world datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of our method over state-of-the-art debiasing baselines.
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W. Ren, L. Wang, K. Liu, R. Guo, L. E. Peng and Y. Fu, "Mitigating Popularity Bias in Recommendation with Unbalanced Interactions: A Gradient Perspective," 2022 IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM), Orlando, FL, USA, 2022, pp. 438-447, doi: 10.1109/ICDM54844.2022.00054.