Next: Item-based Collaborative Filtering Algorithm Up: Collaborative Filtering Based Recommender Previous: Model-based Collaborative Filtering Algorithms.
User-based collaborative filtering systems have been very successful in past, but their widespread use has revealed some real challenges such as:
- Sparsity. In practice, many commercial recommender systems are used to evaluate large item sets (e.g., Amazon.com recommends books and CDnow.com recommends music albums). In these systems, even active users may have purchased well under of the items ( of 2 million books is 20,000 books). Accordingly, a recommender system based on nearest neighbor algorithms may be unable to make any item recommendations for a particular user. As a result the accuracy of recommendations may be poor.
Nearest neighbor algorithms require computation that grows with both the number
of users and the number of items. With millions of users and items,
a typical web-based recommender system running existing algorithms will suffer
serious scalability problems.
The weakness of nearest neighbor algorithm for large, sparse databases led us to explore alternative recommender system algorithms. Our first approach attempted to bridge the sparsity by incorporating semi-intelligent filtering agents into the system [23,11]. These agents evaluated and rated each item using syntactic features. By providing a dense ratings set, they helped alleviate coverage and improved quality. The filtering agent solution, however, did not address the fundamental problem of poor relationships among like-minded but sparse-rating users. To explore that we took an algorithmic approach and used Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) to capture the similarity between users and items in a reduced dimensional space [24,25]. In this paper we look into another technique, the model-based approach, in addressing these challenges, especially the scalability challenge. The main idea here is to analyze the user-item representation matrix to identify relations between different items and then to use these relations to compute the prediction score for a given user-item pair. The intuition behind this approach is that a user would be interested in purchasing items that are similar to the items the user liked earlier and would tend to avoid items that are similar to the items the user didn't like earlier. These techniques don't require to identify the neighborhood of similar users when a recommendation is requested, as a result they tend to produce much faster recommendations. A number of different schemes have been proposed to compute the association between items ranging from probabilistic approach  to more traditional item-item correlations [15,13]. We present a detailed analysis of our approach in the next section.
Next: Item-based Collaborative Filtering Algorithm Up: Collaborative Filtering Based Recommender Previous: Model-based Collaborative Filtering Algorithms. Badrul M. Sarwar