Mitigating the Popularity Bias of Graph Collaborative Filtering: A Dimensional Collapse Perspective

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

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Yifei Zhang, Hao Zhu, yankai Chen, Zixing Song, Piotr Koniusz, Irwin King


Graph-based Collaborative Filtering (GCF) is widely used in personalized recommendation systems. However, GCF suffers from a fundamental problem where features tend to occupy the embedding space inefficiently (by spanning only a low-dimensional subspace). Such an effect is characterized in GCF by the embedding space being dominated by a few of popular items with the user embeddings highly concentrated around them. This enhances the so-called Matthew effect of the popularity bias where popular items are highly recommend whereas remaining items are ignored. In this paper, we analyze the above effect in GCF and reveal that the simplified graph convolution operation (typically used in GCF) shrinks the singular space of the feature matrix. As typical approaches (i.e., optimizing the uniformity term) fail to prevent the embedding space degradation, we propose a decorrelation-enhanced GCF objective that promotes feature diversity by leveraging the so-called principle of redundancy reduction in embeddings. However, unlike conventional methods that use the Euclidean geometry to relax hard constraints for decorrelation, we exploit non-Euclidean geometry. Such a choice helps maintain the range space of the matrix and obtain small condition number, which prevents the embedding space degradation. Our method outperforms contrastive-based GCF models on several benchmark datasets and improves the performance for unpopular items.