Neural Representations in Hybrid Recommender Systems: Prediction versus Regularization
Auto encoder-based hybrid recommender systems have become popular recently because of their ability to learn user and item representations by reconstructing various information sources, including users’ feedback on items (e.g., ratings) and side information of users and items (e.g., users’ occupation and items’ title). However, existing systems still use representations learned by matrix factorization (MF) to predict the rating, while using representations learned by neural networks as the regularizer. In this paper, we define the neural representation for prediction (NRP) framework and apply it to the auto encoder-based recommendation systems. We theoretically analyze how our objective function is related to the previous MF and auto encoder-based methods and explain what it means to use neural representations as the regularizer. We also apply the NRP framework to a direct neural network structure which predicts the ratings without reconstructing the user and item information. We conduct
extensive experiments on two MovieLens datasets and two real-world e-commerce datasets. The results confirm that neural representations are better for prediction than regularization and show that the NRP framework, combined with the direct neural network structure, outperforms the state-of-the-art methods in the prediction task, with less training time and memory.