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From Community Detection to Mentor Selection in Rating-Free Collaborative Filtering

DOI: 10.1155/2011/852518

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The number of items that users can now access when navigating on the Web is so huge that these might feel lost. Recommender systems are a way to cope with this profusion of data by suggesting items that fit the users needs. One of the most popular techniques for recommender systems is the collaborative filtering approach that relies on the preferences of items expressed by users, usually under the form of ratings. In the absence of ratings, classical collaborative filtering techniques cannot be applied. Fortunately, the behavior of users, such as their consultations, can be collected. In this paper, we present a new approach to perform collaborative filtering when no rating is available but when user consultations are known. We propose to take inspiration from local community detection algorithms to form communities of users and deduce the set of mentors of a given user. We adapt one state-of-the-art algorithm so as to fit the characteristics of collaborative filtering. Experiments conducted show that the precision achieved is higher then the baseline that does not perform any mentor selection. In addition, our model almost offsets the absence of ratings by exploiting a reduced set of mentors. 1. Introduction The democratization of Internet and network technologies has resulted in a large increase of information, readily accessible to everybody. This growth had been an advantage during its first years as the access to information became generalized. However, the volume of information is now so enormous that users cannot easily get the information they search for and are drowned in the mass of resources. This overabundance has very often the effect of leading to unsatisfied users. As a consequence, a critical issue of the current Web applications is the incorporation of mechanisms for delivering information that fits users' needs, whilst increasing their satisfaction. Recommender systems (RSs) provide users with personalized recommendations of resources or items, based on the knowledge they have about users. A recent observation showed that users are now aware of their need to be assisted [1] and are prepared to adopt recommender systems [2]. The increasing popularity of these systems in information seeking or commercial e-services has meant that the need for quality, accuracy, and reliability of recommendations has become tremendous. Recommender systems generally fall into three categories: content-based systems which compute recommendations from the semantic content of items [3], knowledge-based systems where recommendations rely on knowledge about the

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