Authors: Lerche, Lukas
Title: Using implicit feedback for recommender systems: characteristics, applications, and challenges
Language (ISO): en
Abstract: Recommender systems are software tools to tackle the problem of information overload by helping users to find items that are most relevant for them within an often unmanageable set of choices. To create these personalized recommendations for a user, the algorithmic task of a recommender system is usually to quantify the user's interest in each item by predicting a relevance score, e.g., from the user's current situation or personal preferences in the past. Nowadays, recommender systems are used in various domains to recommend items such as products on e-commerce sites, movies and music on media portals, or people in social networks. To assess the user's preferences, recommender systems proposed in past research often utilized explicit feedback, i.e., deliberately given ratings or like/dislike statements for items. In practice, however, in many of today's application domains of recommender systems this kind of information is not existent. Therefore, recommender systems have to rely on implicit feedback that is derived from the users' behavior and interactions with the system. This information can be extracted from navigation or transaction logs. Using implicit feedback leads to new challenges and open questions regarding, for example, the huge amount of signals to process, the ambiguity of the feedback, and the inevitable noise in the data. This thesis by publication explores some of these challenges and questions that have not been covered in previous research. The thesis is divided into two parts. In the first part, the thesis reviews existing works on implicit feedback and recommender systems that exploit these signals, especially in the Social Information Access domain, which utilizes the "community wisdom" of the social web for recommendations. Common application scenarios for implicit feedback are discussed and a categorization scheme that classifies different types of observable user behavior is established. In addition, state-of-the-art algorithmic approaches for implicit feedback are examined that, e.g., interpret implicit signals directly or convert them to explicit ratings to be able to use "classic" recommendation approaches that were designed for explicit feedback. The second part of the thesis comprises some of the author's publications that deal with selected challenges of implicit feedback based recommendations. These contain (i) a specialized learning-to-rank algorithm that can differentiate different levels of interest indicator strength in implicit signals, (ii) contextualized recommendation techniques for the e-commerce domain that adapt product suggestions to customers' current short-term goals as well as their long-term preferences, and (iii) intelligent reminding approaches that aim at the re-discovery of relevant items in a customer's browsing history. Furthermore, the last paper of the thesis provides an in-depth analysis of different biases of various recommendation algorithms. Especially the popularity bias, the tendency to recommend mostly popular items, can be problematic in practical settings and countermeasures to reduce this bias are proposed.
Subject Headings: Recommender system
Implicit feedback
Short-term recommendation
Recommendation biases
Popularity bias
Collaborative filtering
Information filtering
Subject Headings (RSWK): Empfehlungssystem
Electronic Commerce
Kollaborative Filterung
Issue Date: 2016
Appears in Collections:LS 13 Dienstleistungsinformatik

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