An Empirical Study Towards Prompt-Tuning for Graph Contrastive Pre-Training in Recommendations

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Haoran Yang, Xiangyu Zhao, Yicong Li, Hongxu Chen, Guandong Xu


Graph contrastive learning (GCL) has emerged as a potent technology for numerous graph learning tasks. It has been successfully applied to real-world recommender systems, where the contrastive loss and the downstream recommendation objectives are always combined to form the overall objective function. Such a strategy is inconsistent with the original GCL paradigm, where graph embeddings are pre-trained without involving downstream training objectives. In this paper, we innovatively propose a prompt-enhanced framework for GCL-based recommender systems, namely CPTPP, which can fully leverage the advantages of the original GCL protocol through prompt tuning. Specifically, we first summarise user profiles in graph recommender systems to automatically generate personalized user prompts. These prompts will then be combined with pre-trained user embeddings to conduct prompt-tuning in downstream tasks, thereby narrowing the distinct targets between pre-training and downstream tasks. Extensive experiments on three benchmark datasets validate the effectiveness of CPTPP against state-of-the-art baselines. A further visualization experiment demonstrates that user embeddings generated by CPTPP have a more uniform distribution, indicating a better capacity to model the diversity of user preferences.The implementation code is available online to ease reproducibility: