On Sampled Metrics for Item Recommendation (Extended Abstract)

Walid Krichene, Steffen Rendle

Abstract

Recommender systems personalize content by recommending items to users. Item recommendation algorithms are evaluated by metrics that compare the positions of truly relevant items among the recommended items. To speed up the computation of metrics, recent work often uses sampled metrics where only a smaller set of random items and the relevant items are ranked. This paper investigates such sampled metrics and shows that they are inconsistent with their exact counterpart, in the sense that they do not persist relative statements, e.g., recommender A is better than B, not even in expectation. We show that it is possible to improve the quality of the sampled metrics by applying a correction. We conclude with an empirical evaluation of the naive sampled metrics and their corrected variants. Our work suggests that sampling should be avoided for metric calculation, however if an experimental study needs to sample, the proposed corrections can improve the estimates.

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