Self-supervised Graph Learning for Recommendation

Representation learning on user-item graph for recommendation has evolved from using single ID or interaction history to exploiting higher-order neighbors. This leads to the success of graph convolution networks (GCNs) for recommendation such as PinSage and LightGCN. Despite effectiveness, we argue that they suffer from two limitations: (1) high-degree nodes exert larger impact on the representation learning, deteriorating the recommendations of low-degree (long-tail) items; and (2) representations are vulnerable to noisy interactions, as the neighborhood aggregation scheme further enlarges the impact of observed edges. In this work, we explore self-supervised learning on user-item graph, so as to improve the accuracy and robustness of GCNs for recommendation. The idea is to supplement the classical supervised task of recommendation with an auxiliary self-supervised task, which reinforces node representation learning via self-discrimination. Specifically, we generate multiple views of a node, maximizing the agreement between different views of the same node compared to that of other nodes. We devise four operators to generate the views -- embedding masking, embedding dropout, node dropout, and edge dropout -- that augment node representation from two perspectives of ID embedding and graph structure. We term this new learning paradigm as \textit{Self-supervised Graph Learning} (SGL), implementing it on the state-of-the-art model LightGCN. Empirical studies on three benchmark datasets demonstrate the effectiveness of SGL, which improves the recommendation accuracy, especially on long-tail items, and the robustness against interaction noises.
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