Structure Aware Incremental Learning with Personalized Imitation Weights for Recommender Systems


  • Yuening Wang Huawei Noah's Ark Lab
  • Yingxue Zhang Huawei Noah's Ark Lab
  • Antonios Valkanas McGill University
  • Ruiming Tang Huawei Noah's Ark Lab
  • Chen Ma City University of Hong Kong
  • Jianye Hao Huawei Noah's Ark Lab Tianjin University
  • Mark Coates McGill University



DMKM: Recommender Systems, ML: Graph-based Machine Learning, ML: Lifelong and Continual Learning


Recommender systems now consume large-scale data and play a significant role in improving user experience. Graph Neural Networks (GNNs) have emerged as one of the most effective recommender system models because they model the rich relational information. The ever-growing volume of data can make training GNNs prohibitively expensive. To address this, previous attempts propose to train the GNN models incrementally as new data blocks arrive. Feature and structure knowledge distillation techniques have been explored to allow the GNN model to train in a fast incremental fashion while alleviating the catastrophic forgetting problem. However, preserving the same amount of the historical information for all users is sub-optimal since it fails to take into account the dynamics of each user's change of preferences. For the users whose interests shift substantially, retaining too much of the old knowledge can overly constrain the model, preventing it from quickly adapting to the users’ novel interests. In contrast, for users who have static preferences, model performance can benefit greatly from preserving as much of the user's long-term preferences as possible. In this work, we propose a novel training strategy that adaptively learns personalized imitation weights for each user to balance the contribution from the recent data and the amount of knowledge to be distilled from previous time periods. We demonstrate the effectiveness of learning imitation weights via a comparison on five diverse datasets for three state-of-art structure distillation based recommender systems. The performance shows consistent improvement over competitive incremental learning techniques.




How to Cite

Wang, Y., Zhang, Y., Valkanas, A., Tang, R., Ma, C., Hao, J., & Coates, M. (2023). Structure Aware Incremental Learning with Personalized Imitation Weights for Recommender Systems. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 37(4), 4711-4719.



AAAI Technical Track on Data Mining and Knowledge Management