Generative Contrastive Graph Learning for Recommendation

11 Jul 2023  ·  Yonghui Yang, Zhengwei Wu, Le Wu, Kun Zhang, Richang Hong, Zhiqiang Zhang, Jun Zhou, Meng Wang ·

By treating users' interactions as a user-item graph, graph learning models have been widely deployed in Collaborative Filtering(CF) based recommendation. Recently, researchers have introduced Graph Contrastive Learning(GCL) techniques into CF to alleviate the sparse supervision issue, which first constructs contrastive views by data augmentations and then provides self-supervised signals by maximizing the mutual information between contrastive views. Despite the effectiveness, we argue that current GCL-based recommendation models are still limited as current data augmentation techniques, either structure augmentation or feature augmentation. First, structure augmentation randomly dropout nodes or edges, which is easy to destroy the intrinsic nature of the user-item graph. Second, feature augmentation imposes the same scale noise augmentation on each node, which neglects the unique characteristics of nodes on the graph. To tackle the above limitations, we propose a novel Variational Graph Generative-Contrastive Learning(VGCL) framework for recommendation. Specifically, we leverage variational graph reconstruction to estimate a Gaussian distribution of each node, then generate multiple contrastive views through multiple samplings from the estimated distributions, which builds a bridge between generative and contrastive learning. Besides, the estimated variances are tailored to each node, which regulates the scale of contrastive loss for each node on optimization. Considering the similarity of the estimated distributions, we propose a cluster-aware twofold contrastive learning, a node-level to encourage consistency of a node's contrastive views and a cluster-level to encourage consistency of nodes in a cluster. Finally, extensive experimental results on three public datasets clearly demonstrate the effectiveness of the proposed model.

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