Accepted Papers

Temporal-Contextual Recommendation in Real-Time

Yifei Ma: amazon; Murali Balakrishnan Narayanaswamy: amazon; Haibin Lin: amazon; Hao Ding: amazon


Personalized real-time recommendation has had a profound impact on retail, media, entertainment and other industries. However, developing recommender systems for every use case is costly, time consuming and resource-intensive. To fill this gap, we present a black-box recommender system that can adapt to a diverse set of scenarios without the need for manual tuning. We build on techniques that go beyond simple matrix factorization to incorporate important new sources of information: the temporal order of events [Hidasi et al., 2015], contextual information to bootstrap cold-start users, metadata information about items [Rendle 2012] and the additional information surrounding each event. Additionally, we address two fundamental challenges when putting recommender systems in the real-world: how to efficiently train them with even millions of unique items and how to cope with changing item popularity trends [Wu et al., 2017]. We introduce a compact model, which we call hierarchical recurrent network with meta data (HRNN-meta) to address the real-time and diverse metadata needs; we further provide efficient training techniques via importance sampling that can scale to millions of items with little loss in performance. We report significant improvements on a wide range of real-world datasets and provide intuition into model capabilities with synthetic experiments. Parts of HRNN-meta have been deployed in production at scale for customers to use at Amazon Web Services and serves as the underlying recommender engine for thousands of websites.

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