Collaborative filtering analyzes user preferences for items (e.g., books, movies, restaurants, academic papers) by exploiting the similarity patterns across users. In implicit feedback settings, all the items, including the ones that a user did not consume, are taken into consideration. But this assumption does not accord with the common sense understanding that users have a limited scope and awareness of items. For example, a user might not have heard of a certain paper, or might live too far away from a restaurant to experience it. In the language of causal analysis , the assignment mechanism (i.e., the items that a user is exposed to) is a latent variable that may change for various user/item combinations. In this paper, we propose a new probabilistic approach that directly incorporates user exposure to items into collaborative filtering. The exposure is modeled as a latent variable and the model infers its value from data. In doing so, we recover one of the most successful state-of-theart approaches as a special case of our model , and provide a plug-in method for conditioning exposure on various forms of exposure covariates (e.g., topics in text, venue locations). We show that our scalable inference algorithm outperforms existing benchmarks in four different domains both with and without exposure covariates.
Dawen Liang, Laurent Charlin, James McInerney and David Blei, Modeling User Exposure in Recommendation, in: International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), 2016