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Learning users' interests by quality classification in market-based recommender systems

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3 Author(s)
Wei, Y.Z. ; British Telecommun., Ipswich, UK ; Moreau, L. ; Jennings, N.R.

Recommender systems are widely used to cope with the problem of information overload and, to date, many recommendation methods have been developed. However, no one technique is best for all users in all situations. To combat this, we have previously developed a market-based recommender system that allows multiple agents (each representing a different recommendation method or system) to compete with one another to present their best recommendations to the user. In our system, the marketplace encourages good recommendations by rewarding the corresponding agents who supplied them according to the users' ratings of their suggestions. Moreover, we have theoretically shown how our system incites the agents to bid in a manner that ensures only the best recommendations are presented. To do this effectively in practice, however, each agent needs to be able to classify its recommendations into different internal quality levels, learn the users' interests for these different levels, and then adapt its bidding behavior for the various levels accordingly. To this end, in this paper, we develop a reinforcement learning and Boltzmann exploration strategy that the recommending agents can exploit for these tasks. We then demonstrate that this strategy does indeed help the agents to effectively obtain information about the users' interests which, in turn, speeds up the market convergence and enables the system to rapidly highlight the best recommendations.

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Knowledge and Data Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 12 )