Enhancing Traditional Recommender Systems via Social Communities
Homann Leschek, Martins Denis, Vossen Gottfried, Kraume Karsten
Collaborative Filtering (CF) has become the most popular approach for developing Recommender Systems in diverse business applications. Unfortunately, problems such as the cold-start problem (i.e., new users or items enter the system and for those no previous preference information is available) and the gray sheep problem (i.e., cases in which a user profile does not match any other profile in the user community) are widely recognized for hindering recommendation effectiveness of traditional CF methods. To alleviate such problems, substantial research has focused on enhancing CF with social information about users (e.g., social relationships and communities). However, despite the crescent interest in social-based approaches, researches and practitioners face the challenge of developing their own Recommender System architecture for appropriately combining social and collaborative filtering methods to improve recommendation results. In this paper, we address this issue by introducing a flexible architecture to support researchers and practitioners in the task of designing real-world Recommender Systems that exploit social network data. We focus on detailing our proposed architecture modules and their interplay, potential algorithms for extracting and combining relevant social information, and candidate technologies for handling diverse and massive data volumes. Additionally, we provide an empirical analysis demonstrating the effectiveness of the proposed architecture on alleviating the cold-start problem over a concrete experimental case.