Curse of "Low" Dimensionality in Recommender Systems

23 May 2023  ·  Naoto Ohsaka, Riku Togashi ·

Beyond accuracy, there are a variety of aspects to the quality of recommender systems, such as diversity, fairness, and robustness. We argue that many of the prevalent problems in recommender systems are partly due to low-dimensionality of user and item embeddings, particularly when dot-product models, such as matrix factorization, are used. In this study, we showcase empirical evidence suggesting the necessity of sufficient dimensionality for user/item embeddings to achieve diverse, fair, and robust recommendation. We then present theoretical analyses of the expressive power of dot-product models. Our theoretical results demonstrate that the number of possible rankings expressible under dot-product models is exponentially bounded by the dimension of item factors. We empirically found that the low-dimensionality contributes to a popularity bias, widening the gap between the rank positions of popular and long-tail items; we also give a theoretical justification for this phenomenon.

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