Skip to Main Content
Predicting people who other people may like has recently become an important task in many online social networks. Traditional collaborative filtering (CF) approaches are popular in recommender systems to effectively predict user preferences for items. One major problem in CF is computing similarity between users or items. Traditional CF methods often use heuristic methods to combine the ratings given to an item by similar users, which may not reflect the characteristics of the active user and can give unsatisfactory performance. In contrast to heuristic approaches we have developed CollabNet, a novel algorithm that uses gradient descent to learn the relative contributions of similar users or items to the ranking of recommendations produced by a recommender system, using weights to represent the contributions of similar users for each active user. We have applied CollabNet to the challenging problem of people to people recommendation in social networks, where people have a dual role as both "users" and "items", e.g., both initiating and receiving communications, to recommend other users to a given user, based on user similarity in terms of both taste (whom they like) and attractiveness (who likes them). Evaluation of CollabNet recommendations on datasets from a commercial online social network shows improved performance over standard CF.