Keywords: recommender system, exploration, actor-critic
TL;DR: we propose a novel deep evidential reinforcement learning (DERL) framework that learns a more effective recommendation policy by integrating both the expected reward and evidence-based uncertainty.
Abstract: Reinforcement learning (RL) has been applied to build recommender systems (RS) to capture users' evolving preferences and continuously improve the quality of recommendations. In this paper, we propose a novel deep evidential reinforcement learning (DERL) framework that learns a more effective recommendation policy by integrating both the expected reward and evidence-based uncertainty. In particular, DERL conducts evidence-aware exploration to locate items that a user will most likely take interest in the future. Two central components of DERL include a customized recurrent neural network (RNN) and an evidential-actor-critic (EAC) module. The former module is responsible for generating the current state of the environment by aggregating historical information and a sliding window that contains the current user interactions as well as newly recommended items that may encode future interest. The latter module performs evidence-based exploration by maximizing a uniquely designed evidential Q-value to derive a policy giving preference to items with good predicted ratings while remaining largely unknown to the system (due to lack of evidence). These two components are jointly trained by supervised learning and reinforcement learning. Experiments on multiple real-world dynamic datasets demonstrate the state-of-the-art performance of DERL and its capability to capture long-term user interests.
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