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Identifying meaningful neighbors for an improved recommender system

Rahul Kumar (Information Systems, Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi, India)
Pradip Kumar Bala (Information Systems, Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi, India)

Journal of Modelling in Management

ISSN: 1746-5664

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




Collaborative filtering (CF), one of the most popular recommendation techniques, is based on the principle of word-of-mouth communication between other like-minded users. The process of identifying these like-minded or similar users remains crucial for a CF framework. Conventionally, a neighbor is the one among the similar users who has rated the item under consideration. To select neighbors by the existing practices, their similarity deteriorates as many similar users might not have rated the item under consideration. This paper aims to address the drawback in the existing CF method where “not-so-similar” or “weak” neighbors are selected.


The new approach proposed here selects neighbors only on the basis of highest similarity coefficient, irrespective of rating the item under consideration. Further, to predict missing ratings by some neighbors for the item under consideration, ordinal logistic regression based on item–item similarity is used here.


Experiments using the MovieLens (ml-100) data set prove the efficacy of the proposed approach on different performance evaluation metrics such as accuracy and classification metrics. Apart from higher prediction quality, coverage values are also at par with the literature.


This new approach gets its motivation from the principle of the CF method to rely on the opinion of the closest neighbors, which seems more meaningful than trusting “not-so-similar” or “weak” neighbors. The static nature of the neighborhood addresses the scalability issue of CF. Use of ordinal logistic regression as a prediction technique addresses the statistical inappropriateness of other linear models to make predictions for ordinal scale ratings data.



Kumar, R. and Bala, P.K. (2017), "Identifying meaningful neighbors for an improved recommender system", Journal of Modelling in Management, Vol. 12 No. 2, pp. 243-264.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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