Next-item recommendations in short sessions

Wenzhuo Song, Shoujin Wang*, Yan Wang*, Shengsheng Wang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The changing preferences of users towards items trigger the emergence of session-based recommender systems (SBRSs), which aim to model the dynamic preferences of users for next-item recommendations. However, most of the existing studies on SBRSs are based on long sessions only for recommendations, ignoring short sessions, though short sessions, in fact, account for a large proportion in most of the real-world datasets. As a result, the applicability of existing SBRSs solutions is greatly reduced. In a short session, quite limited contextual information is available, making the next-item recommendation very challenging. To this end, in this paper, inspired by the success of few-shot learning (FSL) in effectively learning a model with limited instances, we formulate the next-item recommendation as an FSL problem. Accordingly, following the basic idea of a representative approach for FSL, i.e., meta-learning, we devise an effective SBRS called INter-SEssion collaborativeRecommender neTwork (INSERT) for next-item recommendations in short sessions. With the carefully devised local module and global module, INSERT is able to learn an optimal preference representation of the current user in a given short session. In particular, in the global module, a similar session retrieval network (SSRN) is designed to find out the sessions similar to the current short session from the historical sessions of both the current user and other users, respectively. The obtained similar sessions are then utilized to complement and optimize the preference representation learned from the current short session by the local module for more accurate next-item recommendations in this short session. Extensive experiments conducted on two real-world datasets demonstrate the superiority of our proposed INSERT over the state-of-the-art SBRSs when making next-item recommendations in short sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems (RecSys'21)
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450384582
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, RecSys 2021 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: 27 Sep 20211 Oct 2021


Conference15th ACM Conference on Recommender Systems, RecSys 2021


  • session-based recommendation
  • session-aware recommendation
  • few-shot learning


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