Maximizing Induced Cardinality Under a Determinantal Point Process

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Jennifer A. Gillenwater, Alex Kulesza, Sergei Vassilvitskii, Zelda E. Mariet


Determinantal point processes (DPPs) are well-suited to recommender systems where the goal is to generate collections of diverse, high-quality items. In the existing literature this is usually formulated as finding the mode of the DPP (the so-called MAP set). However, the MAP objective inherently assumes that the DPP models "optimal" recommendation sets, and yet obtaining such a DPP is nontrivial when there is no ready source of example optimal sets. In this paper we advocate an alternative framework for applying DPPs to recommender systems. Our approach assumes that the DPP simply models user engagements with recommended items, which is more consistent with how DPPs for recommender systems are typically trained. With this assumption, we are able to formulate a metric that measures the expected number of items that a user will engage with. We formalize this optimization of this metric as the Maximum Induced Cardinality (MIC) problem. Although the MIC objective is not submodular, we show that it can be approximated by a submodular function, and that empirically it is well-optimized by a greedy algorithm.