AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Transfer Learning in Collaborative Filtering with Uncertain Ratings
Weike Pan, Evan W. Xiang, Qiang Yang

Last modified: 2012-07-14


To solve the sparsity problem in collaborative filtering, researchers have introduced transfer learning as a viable approach to make use of auxiliary data. Most previous transfer learning works in collaborative filtering have focused on exploiting point-wise ratings such as numerical ratings, stars, or binary ratings of likes/dislikes. However, in many real-world recommender systems, many users may be unwilling or unlikely to rate items with precision.In contrast, practitioners can turn to various non-preference data to estimate a range or rating distribution of a user's preference on an item.Such a range or rating distribution is called an uncertain rating since it represents a rating spectrum of uncertainty instead of an accurate point-wise score. In this paper, we propose an efficient transfer learning solution for collaborative filtering, known as {\em transfer by integrative factorization} (TIF), to leverage such auxiliary uncertain ratings to improve the performance of recommendation. In particular, we integrate auxiliary data of uncertain ratings as additional constraints in the target matrix factorization problem, and learn an expected rating value for each uncertain rating automatically. The advantages of our proposed approach include the efficiency and the improved effectiveness of collaborative filtering, showing that incorporating the auxiliary data of uncertain ratings can really bring a benefit. Experimental results on two movie recommendation tasks show that our TIF algorithm performs significantly better over a state-of-the-art non-transfer learning method.

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