How to Improve Representation Alignment and Uniformity in Graph-Based Collaborative Filtering?


  • Zhongyu Ouyang University of Notre Dame
  • Chunhui Zhang Dartmouth College
  • Shifu Hou University of Notre Dame
  • Chuxu Zhang Brandeis University
  • Yanfang Ye University of Notre Dame



Collaborative filtering (CF) is a prevalent technique utilized in recommender systems (RSs), and has been extensively deployed in various real-world applications. A recent study in CF focuses on improving the quality of representations from the perspective of alignment and uniformity on the hyperspheres for enhanced recommendation performance. It promotes alignment to increase the similarity between representations of interacting users and items, and enhances uniformity to have more uniformly distributed user and item representations within their respective hyperspheres. However, although alignment and uniformity are enforced by two different optimized objectives, respectively, they jointly constitute the supervised signals for model training. Models trained with only supervised signals in labeled data can inevitably overfit the noise introduced by label sampling variance, even with i.i.d. datasets. This overfitting to noise further compromises the model's generalizability and performance on unseen testing data. To address this issue, in this study, we aim to mitigate the effect caused by the sampling variance in labeled training data to improve representation generalizability from the perspective of alignment and uniformity. Representations with more generalized alignment and uniformity further lead to improved model performance on testing data. Specifically, we model the data as a user-item interaction bipartite graph, and apply a graph neural network (GNN) to learn the user and item representations. This graph modeling approach allows us to integrate self-supervised signals into the RS, by performing self-supervised contrastive learning on the user and item representations from the perspective of label-irrelevant alignment and uniformity. Since the representations are less dependent on label supervision, they can capture more label-irrelevant data structures and patterns, leading to more generalized alignment and uniformity. We conduct extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets to demonstrate the superiority of our framework (i.e., improved performance and faster convergence speed). Our codes:




How to Cite

Ouyang, Z., Zhang, C., Hou, S., Zhang, C., & Ye, Y. (2024). How to Improve Representation Alignment and Uniformity in Graph-Based Collaborative Filtering?. Proceedings of the International AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 18(1), 1148-1159.