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Machine Learning Method Prediction / Recommendation Systems

The obvious examples are web services that sell movies, music, books, or other products. Based on what each customer has purchased, or the ratings they gave, recommend new items that the user is likely to purchase or rate highly. Ratings are often over a range (e.g. 0 to 5 stars) and may not be available for all products purchased / used. The products first need to be grouped or classified, and then we can look for patterns in each users ratings / consumption. E.g. Mary Jane loves romantic movies, but Billy Bob likes action flicks. Now, given that a movie neither has yet seen is a romantic comedy, what rating is MJ likely to give it? How about BB?

So we can treat this as a combination of a Classifier (possibly using clustering if we don't have known classes) which finds parameters for each product and a Linear Regression predictor to learn the users preferences.

We have:

We need to predict the rating of each product i, which they haven't rated as (o(j))Tx(i). Both o(j) and x(i) are vectors of k+1 elements where k is the number of classes. Note: The +1 is because of the unit vector x0 which is always 1.

As with the standard Linear Regression, to learn o(j) we find the minimum values for the sum, over the values of i where r(u,p) is set, of (o(j)Tx(i) - y(i,j))2 divided by 2. We don't divide by the number of products rated, m(j), because that number will be different for each parameter. We also should add Regularization of 1/2 lambda over the k classes. Here is that cost function:

The slope function is: (but remember to omit the lambda term for k=0)

We repeat this for all users from 1:nu

Collaborative Filtering

Known o, unknown x: Another version of this has no classifications for the product, but the users have provided labels for what sort of products they like. In other words, o(j) is provided and we don't have x(i). We do have the y(i,j) ratings for each product that was rated by each user. Based on this, we can guess what the x values will be and then use that to predict the y values for unrated products. In this case, we can use exactly the same method as above, except that we will change x and find the minimum cost for x, over all the users instead of all the products j:r(i,j)=1, while also using regularization for x instead of o.

Back and forth: If we have neither the x values or the o values, we can randomly guess o, and use that to develop some x values, then use those values to develop better o values and by working back and forth, between the two different parameter sets.

Both x and o unknown: And, in fact, we can combine the two versions of the cost function (with regularization for both x and o) and minimize for both x and o over all users and products (i,j):r(i,j)=1, resulting in a single Linear Regression problem which solves for both x and o at once. We start by initialize all the values of x and o to small random numbers much like we do for Neural Nets and for the same reason: This serves to break symmetry and ensures the system learns features that are different from each other.

x0=1 not needed: An interesting side effect of this combined learning of both x and o is that we no longer need x0=1. And the reason is completely amazing: Because the system is learning all the X's, if it wants an x which is 1, it will learn one. ... {ed: pause to let brain explode and re-grow}. We can now regularize all x and o parameters.

Related / Similar Products

After we have a matrix x of product attributes, we can find products which are related simply by finding those with simular values of x.

Vectorization: Low Rank Matrix

If we take a matrix, Y,  of all the product ratings (products x users or np x nu) with gaps where some users haven't rated some products, we can attempt to fill in those gaps. We can also make predictions for each element to see if we are making good predictions against the known values. Element Y(1,1) is O(1)Tx(1). If we take all the X values, x(1) ... x(np), transpose, and stack them into a vector, then do the same with O, we can compute our prediction for Y = X·OT. In Octave must as we did for Linear Regression

% X 	- num_movies  x num_features matrix of movie features
% Theta	- num_users  x num_features matrix of user features
% Y 	- num_movies x num_users matrix of user ratings of movies
% R 	- num_movies x num_users matrix, where R(i, j) = 1 if the 
% 	  i-th movie was rated by the j-th user

%Compute Cost
hyp = (X*Theta'); 
errs = (hyp - Y);
err = errs .* R;	%note .* R removes unrated
J = sum(err(:).^2)/2; %note not dividing by m
%Regularization (both Theta and X)
J = J + (lambda .* sum(Theta(:).^2) ./ 2);
J = J + (lambda .* sum(X(:).^2) ./ 2);
%Note that there is no need to remove the first element

%Compute X gradient with respect to Theta
for i=1:num_movies; %for each movie
  idx = find(R(i, :)==1);    %list of users who rated this movie
  Thetatemp = Theta(idx, :); %Theta features for these users
  Ytemp = Y(i, idx);         %Ratings by these users
  X_grad(i, :) = (X(i, :) * Thetatemp' - Ytemp) * Thetatemp;
  endfor
% Or in matrix form:
X_grad = (err * Theta) + (X .* lambda);
  
%Compute Theta gradient with respect to X
for j=1:num_users; %for each user
  idx = find(R(:, j)==1); %list of movies rated by this user
  Xtemp = X(idx,:);       %X features for these movies
  Ytemp = Y(idx, j)';     %Ratings for these movies, 
  %Note this is transposed to a column of movie ratings
  Theta_grad(j, :) = (Theta(j, :) * Xtemp' - Ytemp) * Xtemp;
  endfor
% Or in matrix form:
Theta_grad = (err' * X) + (Theta .* lambda);

New Users / Users with no Ratings: Mean Normalization

When a user has not rated any products, our minimization system will develop all zero values for o, which is not useful. We can use Mean Normalization to develop average ratings for each product which I can assign as a new users expected ratings.

See also:


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