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On Model Stability as a Function of Random Seed

arXiv.org Machine Learning

In this paper, we focus on quantifying model stability as a function of random seed by investigating the effects of the induced randomness on model performance and the robustness of the model in general. We specifically perform a controlled study on the effect of random seeds on the behaviour of attention, gradient-based and surrogate model based (LIME) interpretations. Our analysis suggests that random seeds can adversely affect the consistency of models resulting in counterfactual interpretations. We propose a technique called Aggressive Stochastic W eight Averaging (ASWA) and an extension called Norm-filtered Aggressive Stochastic W eight Averaging (NASWA) which improves the stability of models over random seeds. With our ASW A and NASW A based optimization, we are able to improve the robustness of the original model, on average reducing the standard deviation of the model's performance by 72% . 1 Introduction There has been a tremendous growth in deep neural network based models that achieve state-of- the-art performance. In fact, most recent end-to-end deep learning models have surpassed the performance of careful human feature-engineering based models in a variety of NLP tasks. However, deep neural network based models are often brittle to various sources of randomness in the training of the models. This could be attributed to several sources including, but not limited to, random parameter initialization, random sampling of examples during training and random dropping of neurons. It has been observed that these models have, more often, a set of random seeds that yield better results than others.


Explainable Recommendation: A Survey and New Perspectives

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Explainable Recommendation refers to the personalized recommendation algorithms that address the problem of why -- they not only provide the user with the recommendations, but also make the user aware why such items are recommended by generating recommendation explanations, which help to improve the effectiveness, efficiency, persuasiveness, and user satisfaction of recommender systems. In recent years, a large number of explainable recommendation approaches -- especially model-based explainable recommendation algorithms -- have been proposed and adopted in real-world systems. In this survey, we review the work on explainable recommendation that has been published in or before the year of 2018. We first high-light the position of explainable recommendation in recommender system research by categorizing recommendation problems into the 5W, i.e., what, when, who, where, and why. We then conduct a comprehensive survey of explainable recommendation itself in terms of three aspects: 1) We provide a chronological research line of explanations in recommender systems, including the user study approaches in the early years, as well as the more recent model-based approaches. 2) We provide a taxonomy for explainable recommendation algorithms, including user-based, item-based, model-based, and post-model explanations. 3) We summarize the application of explainable recommendation in different recommendation tasks, including product recommendation, social recommendation, POI recommendation, etc. We devote a chapter to discuss the explanation perspectives in the broader IR and machine learning settings, as well as their relationship with explainable recommendation research. We end the survey by discussing potential future research directions to promote the explainable recommendation research area.


Improving Explainable Recommendations with Synthetic Reviews

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

An important task for a recommender system to provide interpretable explanations for the user. This is important for the credibility of the system. Current interpretable recommender systems tend to focus on certain features known to be important to the user and offer their explanations in a structured form. It is well known that user generated reviews and feedback from reviewers have strong leverage over the users' decisions. On the other hand, recent text generation works have been shown to generate text of similar quality to human written text, and we aim to show that generated text can be successfully used to explain recommendations. In this paper, we propose a framework consisting of popular review-oriented generation models aiming to create personalised explanations for recommendations. The interpretations are generated at both character and word levels. We build a dataset containing reviewers' feedback from the Amazon books review dataset. Our cross-domain experiments are designed to bridge from natural language processing to the recommender system domain. Besides language model evaluation methods, we employ DeepCoNN, a novel review-oriented recommender system using a deep neural network, to evaluate the recommendation performance of generated reviews by root mean square error (RMSE). We demonstrate that the synthetic personalised reviews have better recommendation performance than human written reviews. To our knowledge, this presents the first machine-generated natural language explanations for rating prediction.


Learning Post-Hoc Causal Explanations for Recommendation

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

State-of-the-art recommender systems have the ability to generate high-quality recommendations, but usually cannot provide intuitive explanations to humans due to the usage of black-box prediction models. The lack of transparency has highlighted the critical importance of improving the explainability of recommender systems. In this paper, we propose to extract causal rules from the user interaction history as post-hoc explanations for the black-box sequential recommendation mechanisms, whilst maintain the predictive accuracy of the recommendation model. Our approach firstly achieves counterfactual examples with the aid of a perturbation model, and then extracts personalized causal relationships for the recommendation model through a causal rule mining algorithm. Experiments are conducted on several state-of-the-art sequential recommendation models and real-world datasets to verify the performance of our model on generating causal explanations. Meanwhile, We evaluate the discovered causal explanations in terms of quality and fidelity, which show that compared with conventional association rules, causal rules can provide personalized and more effective explanations for the behavior of black-box recommendation models.


KGAT: Knowledge Graph Attention Network for Recommendation

arXiv.org Machine Learning

To provide more accurate, diverse, and explainable recommendation, it is compulsory to go beyond modeling user-item interactions and take side information into account. Traditional methods like factorization machine (FM) cast it as a supervised learning problem, which assumes each interaction as an independent instance with side information encoded. Due to the overlook of the relations among instances or items (e.g., the director of a movie is also an actor of another movie), these methods are insufficient to distill the collaborative signal from the collective behaviors of users. In this work, we investigate the utility of knowledge graph (KG), which breaks down the independent interaction assumption by linking items with their attributes. We argue that in such a hybrid structure of KG and user-item graph, high-order relations --- which connect two items with one or multiple linked attributes --- are an essential factor for successful recommendation. We propose a new method named Knowledge Graph Attention Network (KGAT) which explicitly models the high-order connectivities in KG in an end-to-end fashion. It recursively propagates the embeddings from a node's neighbors (which can be users, items, or attributes) to refine the node's embedding, and employs an attention mechanism to discriminate the importance of the neighbors. Our KGAT is conceptually advantageous to existing KG-based recommendation methods, which either exploit high-order relations by extracting paths or implicitly modeling them with regularization. Empirical results on three public benchmarks show that KGAT significantly outperforms state-of-the-art methods like Neural FM and RippleNet. Further studies verify the efficacy of embedding propagation for high-order relation modeling and the interpretability benefits brought by the attention mechanism.