KDD Papers

Collaborative Variational Autoencoder for Recommender Systems

Xiaopeng Li (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology);James She (The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)


Modern recommender systems usually employ collaborative filtering with rating information to recommend items to users due to its successful performance. However, because of the drawbacks of collaborative-based methods such as sparsity, cold start, etc., more attention has been drawn to hybrid methods that consider both the rating and content information. Most of the previous works in this area cannot learn a good representation from content for recommendation task or consider only text modality of the content, thus their methods are very limited in current multimedia scenario. This paper proposes a Bayesian generative model called collaborative variational autoencoder (CVAE) that considers both rating and content for recommendation in multimedia scenario. The model learns deep latent representations from content data in an unsupervised manner and also learns implicit relationships between items and users from both content and rating. Unlike previous works with denoising criteria, the proposed CVAE learns a latent distribution for content in latent space instead of observation space through an inference network and can be easily extended to other multimedia modalities other than text. Experiments show that CVAE is able to significantly outperform the state-of-the-art recommendation methods with more robust performance.