Journal Articles

Stability of Recommendation Algorithms

2012, ACM Transactions on Management Information Systems

G. Adomavicius, Jingjing Zhang


The paper explores stability as a new measure of recommender systems performance.  Stability is defined to measure the extent to which a recommendation algorithm provides predictions that are consistent with each other.  Specifically, for a stable algorithm, adding some of the algorithm’s own predictions to the algorithm’s training data (for example, if these predictions were confirmed as accurate by users) would not invalidate or change the other predictions.  While stability is an interesting theoretical property that can provide additional understanding about recommendation algorithms, we believe stability to be a desired practical property for recommender systems designers as well, because unstable recommendations can potentially decrease users’ trust in recommender systems and, as a result, reduce users’ acceptance of recommendations.  In this paper, we also provide an extensive empirical evaluation of stability for six popular recommendation algorithms on four real-world datasets.  Our results suggest that stability performance of individual recommendation algorithms is consistent across a variety of datasets and settings.  In particular, we find that model-based recommendation algorithms consistently demonstrate higher stability than neighborhood-based collaborative filtering techniques.  In addition, we perform a comprehensive empirical analysis of many important factors (e.g., the sparsity of original rating data, normalization of input data, the number of new incoming ratings, the distribution of incoming ratings, the distribution of evaluation data, etc.) and report the impact they have on recommendation stability. 


Adomavicius, Gediminas, and Jingjing Zhang (2012), "Stability of Recommendation Algorithms," ACM Transactions on Information Systems (TOIS), 30 (4), 23:1-23:31.

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