How can I ensure that all users and all items appear in the training set of my recommender system?

Issue

I am building a recommender system in Python using the MovieLens dataset (https://grouplens.org/datasets/movielens/latest/). In order for my system to work correctly, I need all the users and all the items to appear in the training set. However, I have not found a way to do that yet. I tried using sklearn.model_selection.train_test_split on the partition of the dataset relevant to each user and then concatenated the results, thus succeeding in creating training and test datasets that contain at least one rating given by each user. What I need now is to find a way to create training and test datasets that also contain at least one rating for each movie.

Solution

This requirement is quite reasonable, but is not supported by the data ingestion routines for any framework I know. Most training paradigms presume that your data set is populated sufficiently that there is a negligible chance of missing any one input or output.

Since you need to guarantee this, you need to switch to an algorithmic solution, rather than a probabilistic one. I suggest that you tag each observation with the input and output, and then apply the "set coverage problem" to the data set.

You can continue with as many distinct covering sets as needed to populate your training set (which I recommend). Alternately, you can set a lower threshold of requirement — say get three sets of total coverage — and then revert to random methods for the remainder.

Answered By – Prune

Answer Checked By – Candace Johnson (AngularFixing Volunteer)

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