by Huang, Zan.

Abstract (Summary)
Recommender systems automate the process of recommending products and services to customers based on various types of data including customer demographics, product features, and, most importantly, previous interactions between customers and products (e.g., purchasing, rating, and catalog browsing). Despite significant research progress and growing acceptance in real-world applications, two major challenges remain to be addressed to implement effective e-commerce recommendation applications. The first challenge is concerned with making recommendations based on sparse transaction data. The second challenge is the lack of a unified framework to integrate multiple types of input data and recommendation approaches.This dissertation investigates graph-based algorithms to address these two problems. The proposed approach is centered on consumer-product graphs that represent sales transactions as links connecting consumer and product nodes. In order to address the sparsity problem, I investigate the network spreading activation algorithms and a newly proposed link analysis algorithm motivated by ideas from Web graph analysis techniques. Experimental results with several e-commerce datasets indicated that both classes of algorithms outperform a wide range of existing collaborative filtering algorithms, especially under sparse data. Two graph-based models that enhance the simple consumer-product graph were proposed to provide unified recommendation frameworks. The first model, a two-layer graph model, enhances the consumer-product graph by incorporating the consumer/product attribute information as consumer and product similarity links. The second model is based on probabilistic relational models (PRMs) developed in the relational learning literature. It is demonstrated with e-commerce datasets that the proposed frameworks not only conceptually unify many of the existing recommendation approaches but also allow the exploitation of a wider range of data patterns in an integrated manner, leading to improved recommendation performance.In addition to the recommendation algorithm design research, this dissertation also employs the random graph theory to study the topological characteristics of consumer-product graphs and the fundamental mechanisms that generate the sales transaction data. This research represents the early step towards a meta-level analysis framework for validating the fundamental assumptions made by different recommendation algorithms regarding the consumer-product interaction generation process and thus supporting systematic recommendation model/algorithm selection and evaluation.
Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Arizona

School Location:USA - Arizona

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:

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