Leveraging Distribution Alignment via Stein Path for Cross-Domain Cold-Start Recommendation

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

Bibtex Paper Reviews And Public Comment » Supplemental


Weiming Liu, Jiajie Su, Chaochao Chen, Xiaolin Zheng


Cross-Domain Recommendation (CDR) has been popularly studied to utilize different domain knowledge to solve the cold-start problem in recommender systems. In this paper, we focus on the Cross-Domain Cold-Start Recommendation (CDCSR) problem. That is, how to leverage the information from a source domain, where items are 'warm', to improve the recommendation performance of a target domain, where items are 'cold'. Unfortunately, previous approaches on cold-start and CDR cannot reduce the latent embedding discrepancy across domains efficiently and lead to model degradation. To address this issue, we propose DisAlign, a cross-domain recommendation framework for the CDCSR problem, which utilizes both rating and auxiliary representations from the source domain to improve the recommendation performance of the target domain. Specifically, we first propose Stein path alignment for aligning the latent embedding distributions across domains, and then further propose its improved version, i.e., proxy Stein path, which can reduce the operation consumption and improve efficiency. Our empirical study on Douban and Amazon datasets demonstrate that DisAlign significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art models under the CDCSR setting.