Learning Nonsymmetric Determinantal Point Processes

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 32 (NeurIPS 2019)

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Mike Gartrell, Victor-Emmanuel Brunel, Elvis Dohmatob, Syrine Krichene


Determinantal point processes (DPPs) have attracted substantial attention as an elegant probabilistic model that captures the balance between quality and diversity within sets. DPPs are conventionally parameterized by a positive semi-definite kernel matrix, and this symmetric kernel encodes only repulsive interactions between items. These so-called symmetric DPPs have significant expressive power, and have been successfully applied to a variety of machine learning tasks, including recommendation systems, information retrieval, and automatic summarization, among many others. Efficient algorithms for learning symmetric DPPs and sampling from these models have been reasonably well studied. However, relatively little attention has been given to nonsymmetric DPPs, which relax the symmetric constraint on the kernel. Nonsymmetric DPPs allow for both repulsive and attractive item interactions, which can significantly improve modeling power, resulting in a model that may better fit for some applications. We present a method that enables a tractable algorithm, based on maximum likelihood estimation, for learning nonsymmetric DPPs from data composed of observed subsets. Our method imposes a particular decomposition of the nonsymmetric kernel that enables such tractable learning algorithms, which we analyze both theoretically and experimentally. We evaluate our model on synthetic and real-world datasets, demonstrating improved predictive performance compared to symmetric DPPs, which have previously shown strong performance on modeling tasks associated with these datasets.