Popularity-aware sequential recommendation with user desire

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number121429
Journal / PublicationExpert Systems with Applications
Issue numberPart B
Online published6 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


In recent years, sequential recommendation system has attracted more and more attention from both academy and industry. Sequential recommendation treats the user’s historical behaviors as a sequence and captures the sequential dependency from it. Though the works on sequential recommendation have made great progress, sequential recommendation models still suffer from popularity bias. The existence of popularity bias is common in recommendation systems: the popular items are recommended overly while the less popular items which users may be interested in get fewer chances to be recommended than they should, which may negatively affect the recommendation accuracy and induce other problems such as Matthew Effect and Echo Chambers. Although there have been some works on alleviating popularity bias in traditional recommendation, there is still a lack of research on popularity bias in sequential recommendation. Because there exists complicated sequential dependency in sequences, the debiasing models designed for traditional recommendation cannot be applied directly, it is necessary to propose a debiasing model for sequential recommendation to take the complicated sequential dependency into account. To alleviate the popularity bias in sequential recommendation, we first propose a causal graph for sequential recommendation in which we propose to consider the dynamic user desire which would affect the effect of popularity. Then, we conduct intervention analysis and counterfactual reasoning to quantify the effect of popularity and reason about the user interaction probability in a hypothetical situation that the popularity is set to a certain level. Based on the results of obtained, we propose a new popularity-aware sequential recommendation model with user desire (PAUDRec) which consists of a Transformer-based module, a user desire module and a popularity effect module. Extensive experiments on four widely used benchmark datasets demonstrate that the proposed PAUDRec model outperforms the state-of-the-art sequential recommendation models while alleviating the popularity bias in sequential recommendation. © 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Research Area(s)

  • Sequential recommendation, Popularity bias, User desire, Causal inference

Citation Format(s)

Popularity-aware sequential recommendation with user desire. / Wu, Jiajin; Yang, Bo; Mao, Runze et al.
In: Expert Systems with Applications, Vol. 237, No. Part B, 121429, 01.03.2024.

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review