A Maximum Entropy Approach to Collaborative Filtering in Dynamic, Sparse, High-Dimensional Domains

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 15 (NIPS 2002)

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Dmitry Pavlov, David Pennock


We develop a maximum entropy (maxent) approach to generating recom- mendations in the context of a user’s current navigation stream, suitable for environments where data is sparse, high-dimensional, and dynamic— conditions typical of many recommendation applications. We address sparsity and dimensionality reduction by first clustering items based on user access patterns so as to attempt to minimize the apriori probabil- ity that recommendations will cross cluster boundaries and then recom- mending only within clusters. We address the inherent dynamic nature of the problem by explicitly modeling the data as a time series; we show how this representational expressivity fits naturally into a maxent frame- work. We conduct experiments on data from ResearchIndex, a popu- lar online repository of over 470,000 computer science documents. We show that our maxent formulation outperforms several competing algo- rithms in offline tests simulating the recommendation of documents to ResearchIndex users.