Content-aware Neural Hashing for Cold-start Recommendation

Casper Hansen, Christian Hansen, Jakob Grue Simonsen, Stephen Alstrup, Christina Lioma. SIGIR 2020

Deep Learning SIGIR

Content-aware recommendation approaches are essential for providing meaningful recommendations for new (i.e., cold-start) items in a recommender system. We present a content-aware neural hashing-based collaborative filtering approach (NeuHash-CF), which generates binary hash codes for users and items, such that the highly efficient Hamming distance can be used for estimating user-item relevance. NeuHash-CF is modelled as an autoencoder architecture, consisting of two joint hashing components for generating user and item hash codes. Inspired from semantic hashing, the item hashing component generates a hash code directly from an item’s content information (i.e., it generates cold-start and seen item hash codes in the same manner). This contrasts existing state-of-the-art models, which treat the two item cases separately. The user hash codes are generated directly based on user id, through learning a user embedding matrix. We show experimentally that NeuHash-CF significantly outperforms state-of-the-art baselines by up to 12% NDCG and 13% MRR in cold-start recommendation settings, and up to 4% in both NDCG and MRR in standard settings where all items are present while training. Our approach uses 2-4x shorter hash codes, while obtaining the same or better performance compared to the state of the art, thus consequently also enabling a notable storage reduction.