PhD Defence | Learning from User Interactions for Recommending Queries and Items

University of Amsterdam PhD candidate, Wanyu Chen will be defending her PhD thesis “Learning from User Interactions for Recommending Queries and Items” on Tuesday 2nd February.

Wanyu Chen’s thesis investigates how to learn from user interaction data and make satisfactory recommendations for both search engines and recommender systems. Chen completed her research under the supervision of Maarten de Rijke (UvA) and Fei Chai (National University of Defense Technology)

People use search engines and recommender systems for multiple purposes in daily life – they may search for some specific information with queries, or they may just want to watch movies and do online shopping for entertainment. In many cases it is not clear what exactly users want: what information they are looking for or what items they are interested in. Thus, search engines and recommender systems need to become pro-active and provide users with auxiliary information so as to gain a better understanding of users’ goals. E.g., search engines could suggest queries and recommender systems could offer lists of options that may address the users’ needs.

This thesis proposes an attention-based hierarchical neural architecture for query suggestion, a joint neural collaborative filtering approach for general recommendation, a dynamic co-attention network model for session-based recommendation, and an intent-aware end-to-end neural approach for diversified sequential recommendation. Chen also conducted comprehensive experiments and analysis to verify the effectiveness of the proposals. Finally, the thesis lists several possible directions for future work based on the research in this thesis.

Watch the PhD defence live via YouTube.