Accepted Papers

Sets2Sets: Learning from Sequential Sets with Neural Networks

Haoji Hu (University of Minnesota);Xiangnan He (University of Science and Technology of China);


Given past sequential sets of elements, predicting the subsequent sets of elements is an important problem in different domains. With the past orders of customers given, predicting the items that are likely to be bought in their following orders can provide information about the future purchase intentions. With the past clinical records of patients at each visit to the hospitals given, predicting the future clinical records in the subsequent visits can provide information about the future disease progression. These useful information can help to make better decisions in different domains. However, existing methods have not studied this problem well. In this paper, we formulate this problem as a sequential sets to sequential sets learning problem. We propose an end-to-end learning approach based on an encoder-decoder framework to solve the problem. In the encoder, our approach maps the set of elements at each past time step into a vector. In the decoder, our method decodes the set of elements at each subsequent time step from the vectors with a set-based attention mechanism. The repeated elements pattern is also considered in our method to further improve the performance. In addition, our objective function addresses the imbalance and correlation existing among the predicted elements. The experimental results on three real-world data sets showthat our method outperforms the best performance of the compared methods with respect to recall and person-wise hit ratio by 2.7-20.6% and 2.1-26.3%, respectively. Our analysis also shows that our decoder has good generalization to output sequential sets that are even longer than the output of training instances.

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