Accepted Papers

Incorporating Interpretability into Latent Factor Models via Fast Influence Analysis

Weiyu Cheng (Shanghai Jiao Tong University);Yanyan Shen (Shanghai Jiao Tong University);Linpeng Huang (Shanghai Jiao Tong University);Yanmin Zhu (Shanghai Jiao Tong University);

Latent factor models (LFMs) such as matrix factorization have achieved the state-of-the-art performance among various collaborative filtering approaches for recommendation. Despite the high recommendation accuracy of LFMs, a critical issue to be resolved is their lack of interpretability. Extensive efforts have been devoted to interpreting the prediction results of LFMs. However, they either rely on auxiliary information which may not be available in practice, or sacrifice recommendation accuracy for interpretability. Influence functions, stemming from robust statistics, have been developed to understand the effect of training points on the predictions of black-box models. Inspired by this, we propose a novel explanation method named FIA (Fast Influence Analysis) to understand the prediction of trained LFMs by tracing back to the training data with influence functions. We present how to employ influence functions to measure the impact of historical user-item interactions on the prediction results of LFMs and provide intuitive neighbor-style explanations based on the most influential interactions. Our proposed FIA exploits the characteristics of two important LFMs, matrix factorization and neural collaborative filtering, and is capable of accelerating the overall influence analysis process. We provide a detailed complexity analysis for FIA over LFMs and conduct extensive experiments to evaluate its performance using real-world datasets. The results demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of FIA, and the usefulness of the generated explanations for the recommendation results.


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