I will slowly restart blogging a bit about my past year experience that included visiting Prof. Arto Klami group at the University of Helsinki and a research internship at Curious AI, working under the guidance of Mathias Berglund and Harri Valpola. The first part of my stay resulted in an interesting research direction exploring how to use the prior-predictive distribution to obtain direct relationships between moments of the data (if generated by the model being specified) and hyperparameters of the model. I will discuss this further, but for now, I leave the abstract and link to the preprint.
Abstract: Hyperparameter optimization for machine learning models is typically carried out by some sort of cross-validation procedure or global optimization, both of which require running the learning algorithm numerous times. We show that for Bayesian hierarchical models there is an appealing alternative that allows selecting good hyperparameters without learning the model parameters during the process at all, facilitated by the prior predictive distribution that marginalizes out the model parameters. We propose an approach that matches suitable statistics of the prior predictive distribution with ones provided by an expert and apply the general concept for matrix factorization models. For some Poisson matrix factorization models we can analytically obtain exact hyperparameters, including the number of factors, and for more complex models we propose a model-independent optimization procedure.
In the next couple of months, I will be visiting Arto Klami‘s Multi-Source Probabilistic Inference group. Also, I am happy to I am working again close to my ex-colleague at NTNU and friend Tomasz. This next couple of months look promising and I am looking forward to finalizing all the open-threads that would lead my PhD thesis!
The ArXiv preprint to our paper introducing a joint Point process and Hierarchical RNN for item and time prediction is now available.
Time is of the Essence: a Joint Hierarchical RNN and Point Process Model for Time and Item Predictions
In recent years session-based recommendation has emerged as an increasingly applicable type of recommendation. As sessions consist of sequences of events, this type of recommendation is a natural fit for Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). Several additions have been proposed for extending such models in order to handle specific problems or data. Two such extensions are 1.) modeling of inter-session relations for catching long term dependencies over user sessions, and 2.) modeling temporal aspects of user-item interactions. The former allows the session-based recommendation to utilize extended session history and inter-session information when providing new recommendations. The latter has been used to both provide state-of-the-art predictions for when the user will return to the service and also for improving recommendations. In this work we combine these two extensions in a joint model for the tasks of recommendation and return-time prediction. The model consists of a Hierarchical RNN for the inter-session and intra-session items recommendation extended with a Point Process model for the time-gaps between the sessions. The experimental results indicate that the proposed model improves recommendations significantly on two datasets over a strong baseline, while simultaneously improving return-time predictions over a baseline return-time prediction model.
Our position paper called “Poisson Factorization Models for Spatiotemporal Retrieval”, joint work with Dirk Ahlers, got accepted at the 11th Workshop on Geographic Information Retrieval (GIR’17). In this work, we discuss some modelling ideas and possibilities for advancing spatiotemporal retrieval using Poisson factorization models, especially in scenarios where we have multiple sources of count or implicit spatiotemporal user data. Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend the workshop (but Dirk will be there), because I am now in Melbourne, Australia, and will stay here for 3 months, participating as visiting graduate student in a project with the IR group at RMIT. In particular, I will be working with Dr Yongli Ren and Prof Mark Sanderson, developing joint probabilistic models for spatiotemporal user data for indoor spaces recommendations (they have a very interesting dataset that I am curious to explore). Hopefully, in the next couple of months, I will continue working on nice probabilistic models for recommender system, but incorporating many new and interesting ideas related to location and time.
ECML-PKDD 2017 was very pleasant and nice. Skopje was an unexpected surprise. I am happy with each new conference that I attend, always meeting new people doing very good research. The community there was very nice in general!
I presented my paper at Matrix and Tensor Factorization session, and I was particularly happy with that, because even though the application we are working is recommender systems, we are focusing on the methods and proposing new factorization methods and models. Later in the night, we had the poster (poster-ecml2017) session at the Macedonian Opera & Ballet and afterward headed to the wine festival, just outside.
For those interested, my presentation slides here:
This semester I will be advising some master students on their final project. At this point, they don’t select a specific topic but should look into a given area to find specific research question and some of them will definitely work on Deep Learning and Recommender Systems. Especially because we (the NTNU-AILab group) had a very nice experience last year where one master student doing work on RNN for session-based recommendation managed to have a work accepted at DLRS 2017. So, I decided to make a small selection of the papers related to this topic, focusing on WSDM, WWW, KDD, CIKM, RecSys, ICLR, DLRS and some other specific conferences in the last three years (2015,2016 and 2017). The result is a list of 45 papers, with many distinct ideas, but also some common threads (Matrix Factorization to CNN or LSTM, Session-based methods using RNN, etc). We will not discuss the different ideas, but I will just post the link here because some people might be interested in that.
Last year I had the opportunity to attend this great summer school in the beautiful and lovely city of Lisbon. It was a great week together with a lot of interesting and intelligent people, all of them interested in the amazing and exciting area of machine learning and NLP. I liked it so much last year that I decided to come back this year to volunteer as an assistant in the summer school. Today was the -1 day, where we organized some of the registration stuff, welcomed some student and had some beers. Looks like it will be, again, a great time here in Lisbon
Continue reading “Lisbon Machine Learning Summer School (LxMLS) 2017”
On February I visited Cambridge to attend WSDM Doctoral Consortium. It happened during the first day of the conference, in parallel to some tutorials. It was a great time, we had excellent discussions about our projects with senior researchers and fellow Ph.D. candidates. Here is a photo for the posterity.
And the program: http://www.wsdm-conference.org/2017/doctoral-consortium/