AMER: Automatic Behavior Modeling and Interaction Exploration in Recommender System

10 Jun 2020  ·  Pengyu Zhao, Kecheng Xiao, Yuanxing Zhang, Kaigui Bian, Wei Yan ·

User behavior and feature interactions are crucial in deep learning-based recommender systems. There has been a diverse set of behavior modeling and interaction exploration methods in the literature. Nevertheless, the design of task-aware recommender systems still requires feature engineering and architecture engineering from domain experts. In this work, we introduce AMER, namely Automatic behavior Modeling and interaction Exploration in Recommender systems with Neural Architecture Search (NAS). The core contributions of AMER include the three-stage search space and the tailored three-step searching pipeline. In the first step, AMER searches for residual blocks that incorporate commonly used operations in the block-wise search space of stage 1 to model sequential patterns in user behavior. In the second step, it progressively investigates useful low-order and high-order feature interactions in the non-sequential interaction space of stage 2. Finally, an aggregation multi-layer perceptron (MLP) with shortcut connection is selected from flexible dimension settings of stage~3 to combine features extracted from the previous steps. For efficient and effective NAS, AMER employs the one-shot random search in all three steps. Further analysis reveals that AMER's search space could cover most of the representative behavior extraction and interaction investigation methods, which demonstrates the universality of our design. The extensive experimental results over various scenarios reveal that AMER could outperform competitive baselines with elaborate feature engineering and architecture engineering, indicating both effectiveness and robustness of the proposed method.

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