Parallel Recurrent Neural Network Architectures for Feature-rich Session-based Recommendations

, , , and . Proceedings of the 10th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, page 241--248. New York, NY, USA, ACM, (2016)


Real-life recommender systems often face the daunting task of providing recommendations based only on the clicks of a user session. Methods that rely on user profiles -- such as matrix factorization -- perform very poorly in this setting, thus item-to-item recommendations are used most of the time. However the items typically have rich feature representations such as pictures and text descriptions that can be used to model the sessions. Here we investigate how these features can be exploited in Recurrent Neural Network based session models using deep learning. We show that obvious approaches do not leverage these data sources. We thus introduce a number of parallel RNN (p-RNN) architectures to model sessions based on the clicks and the features (images and text) of the clicked items. We also propose alternative training strategies for p-RNNs that suit them better than standard training. We show that p-RNN architectures with proper training have significant performance improvements over feature-less session models while all session-based models outperform the item-to-item type baseline.

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