A Textbased Deep Reinforcement Learning Framework for Interactive Recommendation

Abstract: Due to its nature of learning from dynamic interactions and planning for long-run performance, reinforcement learning (RL) recently has received much attention in interactive recommender systems (IRSs). IRSs usually face the large discrete action space problem, which makes most of the existing RL-based recommendation methods inefficient. Moreover, data sparsity is another challenging problem that most IRSs are confronted with. While the textual information like reviews and descriptions is less sensitive to sparsity, existing RL-based recommendation methods either neglect or are not suitable for incorporating textual information. To address these two problems, in this paper, we propose a Text-based Deep Deterministic Policy Gradient framework (TDDPG-Rec) for IRSs. Specifically, we leverage textual information to map items and users into a feature space, which greatly alleviates the sparsity problem. Moreover, we design an effective method to construct an action candidate set. By the policy vector dynamically learned from TDDPG-Rec that expresses the user’s preference, we can select actions from the candidate set effectively. Through experiments on three public datasets, we demonstrate that TDDPG-Rec achieves state-of-the-art performance over several baselines in a time-efficient manner.