Foundations and Trends® in Information Retrieval > Vol 14 > Issue 1

Explainable Recommendation: A Survey and New Perspectives

Yongfeng Zhang, Rutgers University, USA, yongfeng.zhang@rutgers.edu Xu Chen, Tsinghua University, China, xu-ch14@mails.tsinghua.edu.cn
 
Suggested Citation
Yongfeng Zhang and Xu Chen (2020), "Explainable Recommendation: A Survey and New Perspectives", Foundations and Trends® in Information Retrieval: Vol. 14: No. 1, pp 1-101. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/1500000066

Published: 11 Mar 2020
© 2020 Yongfeng Zhang and Xu Chen
 
Subjects
Collaborative filtering and recommender systems
 

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In this article:
1. Introduction
2. Information Source for Explanations
3. Explainable Recommendation Models
4. Evaluation of Explainable Recommendation
5. Explainable Recommendation in Different Applications
6. Open Directions and New Perspectives
7. Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References

Abstract

Explainable recommendation attempts to develop models that generate not only high-quality recommendations but also intuitive explanations. The explanations may either be post-hoc or directly come from an explainable model (also called interpretable or transparent model in some contexts). Explainable recommendation tries to address the problem of why: by providing explanations to users or system designers, it helps humans to understand why certain items are recommended by the algorithm, where the human can either be users or system designers. Explainable recommendation helpsendation systems. It also facilitates system design to improve the transparency, persuasiveness, effectiveness, trustworthiness, and satisfaction of recommers for better system debugging. In recent years, a large number of explainable recommendation approaches – especially model-based methods – have been proposed and applied in real-world systems.

In this survey, we provide a comprehensive review for the explainable recommendation research. We first highlight the position of explainable recommendation in recommender system research by categorizing recommendation problems into the 5W, i.e., what, when, who, where, and why. We then conduct a comprehensive survey of explainable recommendation on three perspectives: 1) We provide a chronological research timeline of explainable recommendation, including user study approaches in the early years and more recent model-based approaches. 2) We provide a two-dimensional taxonomy to classify existing explainable recommendation research: one dimension is the information source (or display style) of the explanations, and the other dimension is the algorithmic mechanism to generate explainable recommendations. 3) We summarize how explainable recommendation applies to different recommendation tasks, such as product recommendation, social recommendation, and POI recommendation.

We also devote a section to discuss the explanation perspectives in broader IR and AI/ML research. We end the survey by discussing potential future directions to promote the explainable recommendation research area and beyond.

DOI:10.1561/1500000066
ISBN: 978-1-68083-658-5
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Table of contents:
1. Introduction
2. Information Source for Explanations
3. Explainable Recommendation Models
4. Evaluation of Explainable Recommendation
5. Explainable Recommendation in Different Applications
6. Open Directions and New Perspectives
7. Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References

Explainable Recommendation: A Survey and New Perspectives

Explainable recommendation attempts to develop models that generate not only high-quality recommendations but also intuitive explanations. It tries to address the problem of why: by providing explanations to users or system designers, it helps humans to understand why certain items are recommended by the algorithm, where the human can either be users or system designers. Explainable recommendation helps to improve the transparency, persuasiveness, effectiveness, trustworthiness, and satisfaction of recommendation systems, and facilitates system designers for better system debugging.

In recent years, a large number of explainable recommendation approaches have been proposed and applied in real-world systems. This survey provides a comprehensive review of the explainable recommendation research. The authors first highlight the position of explainable recommendation in recommender system research by categorizing recommendation problems into the 5W (what, when, who, where, and why). They then conduct a comprehensive survey of explainable recommendation on three perspectives: (1) a chronological research timeline of explainable recommendation; (2) a two-dimensional taxonomy to classify existing explainable recommendation research; (3) a summary of how explainable recommendation applies to different recommendation tasks. The authors also devote a section to discuss the explanation perspectives in broader IR and AI/ML research and end the survey by discussing potential future directions to promote the explainable recommendation research area and beyond.

 
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