Distributional semantic pre-filtering in context-aware recommender systems
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Context-aware recommender systems improve context-free recommenders by exploiting the knowledge of the contextual situation under which a user experienced and rated an item. They use data sets of contextually-tagged ratings to predict how the target user would evaluate (rate) an item in a given contextual situation, with the ultimate goal to recommend the items with the best estimated ratings. This paper describes and evaluates a pre-filtering approach to context-aware recommendation, called distributional-semantics pre-filtering (DSPF), which exploits in a novel way the distributional semantics of contextual conditions to build more precise context-aware rating prediction models. In DSPF, given a target contextual situation (of a target user), a matrix-factorization predictive model is built by using the ratings tagged with the contextual situations most similar to the target one. Then, this model is used to compute rating predictions and identify recommendations for that specific target contextual situation. In the proposed approach, the definition of the similarity of contextual situations is based on the distributional semantics of their composing conditions: situations are similar if they influence the user’s ratings in a similar way. This notion of similarity has the advantage of being directly derived from the rating data; hence it does not require a context taxonomy. We analyze the effectiveness of DSPF varying the specific method used to compute the situation-to-situation similarity. We also show how DSPF can be further improved by using clustering techniques. Finally, we evaluate DSPF on several contextually-tagged data sets and demonstrate that it outperforms state-of-the-art context-aware approaches.