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      Tree based Progressive Regression Model for Watch-Time Prediction in Short-video Recommendation


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          An accurate prediction of watch time has been of vital importance to enhance user engagement in video recommender systems. To achieve this, there are four properties that a watch time prediction framework should satisfy: first, despite its continuous value, watch time is also an ordinal variable and the relative ordering between its values reflects the differences in user preferences. Therefore the ordinal relations should be reflected in watch time predictions. Second, the conditional dependence between the video-watching behaviors should be captured in the model. For instance, one has to watch half of the video before he/she finishes watching the whole video. Third, modeling watch time with a point estimation ignores the fact that models might give results with high uncertainty and this could cause bad cases in recommender systems. Therefore the framework should be aware of prediction uncertainty. Forth, the real-life recommender systems suffer from severe bias amplifications thus an estimation without bias amplification is expected. Therefore we propose TPM for watch time prediction. Specifically, the ordinal ranks of watch time are introduced into TPM and the problem is decomposed into a series of conditional dependent classification tasks which are organized into a tree structure. The expectation of watch time can be generated by traversing the tree and the variance of watch time predictions is explicitly introduced into the objective function as a measurement for uncertainty. Moreover, we illustrate that backdoor adjustment can be seamlessly incorporated into TPM, which alleviates bias amplifications. Extensive offline evaluations have been conducted in public datasets and TPM have been deployed in a real-world video app Kuaishou with over 300 million DAUs. The results indicate that TPM outperforms state-of-the-art approaches and indeed improves video consumption significantly.

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          06 June 2023


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          Information & Library science
          Information & Library science


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