Memory-efficient Embedding for Recommendations

26 Jun 2020  ·  Xiangyu Zhao, Haochen Liu, Hui Liu, Jiliang Tang, Weiwei Guo, Jun Shi, Sida Wang, Huiji Gao, Bo Long ·

Practical large-scale recommender systems usually contain thousands of feature fields from users, items, contextual information, and their interactions. Most of them empirically allocate a unified dimension to all feature fields, which is memory inefficient. Thus it is highly desired to assign different embedding dimensions to different feature fields according to their importance and predictability. Due to the large amounts of feature fields and the nuanced relationship between embedding dimensions with feature distributions and neural network architectures, manually allocating embedding dimensions in practical recommender systems can be very difficult. To this end, we propose an AutoML based framework (AutoDim) in this paper, which can automatically select dimensions for different feature fields in a data-driven fashion. Specifically, we first proposed an end-to-end differentiable framework that can calculate the weights over various dimensions for feature fields in a soft and continuous manner with an AutoML based optimization algorithm; then we derive a hard and discrete embedding component architecture according to the maximal weights and retrain the whole recommender framework. We conduct extensive experiments on benchmark datasets to validate the effectiveness of the AutoDim framework.

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