Visible to the public Biblio

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Afsharinejad, Armita, Hurley, Neil.  2018.  Performance Analysis of a Privacy Constrained kNN Recommendation Using Data Sketches. Proceedings of the Eleventh ACM International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining. :10–18.
This paper evaluates two algorithms, BLIP and JLT, for creating differentially private data sketches of user profiles, in terms of their ability to protect a kNN collaborative filtering algorithm from an inference attack by third-parties. The transformed user profiles are employed in a user-based top-N collaborative filtering system. For the first time, a theoretical analysis of the BLIP is carried out, to derive expressions that relate its parameters to its performance. This allows the two techniques to be fairly compared. The impact of deploying these approaches on the utility of the system—its ability to make good recommendations, and on its privacy level—the ability of third-parties to make inferences about the underlying user preferences, is examined. An active inference attack is evaluated, that consists of the injection of a number of tailored sybil profiles into the system database. User profile data of targeted users is then inferred from the recommendations made to the sybils. Although the differentially private sketches are designed to allow the transformed user profiles to be published without compromising privacy, the attack we examine does not use such information and depends only on some pre-existing knowledge of some user preferences as well as the neighbourhood size of the kNN algorithm. Our analysis therefore assesses in practical terms a relatively weak privacy attack, which is extremely simple to apply in systems that allow low-cost generation of sybils. We find that, for a given differential privacy level, the BLIP injects less noise into the system, but for a given level of noise, the JLT offers a more compact representation.
Wasilewski, Jacek, Hurley, Neil.  2018.  Intent-aware Item-based Collaborative Filtering for Personalised Diversification. Proceedings of the 26th Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization. :81–89.

Diversity has been identified as one of the key dimensions of recommendation utility that should be considered besides the overall accuracy of the system. A common diversification approach is to rerank results produced by a baseline recommendation engine according to a diversification criterion. The intent-aware framework is one of the frameworks that has been proposed for recommendations diversification. It assumes existence of a set of aspects associated with items, which also represent user intentions, and the framework promotes diversity across the aspects to address user expectations more accurately. In this paper we consider item-based collaborative filtering and suggest that the traditional view of item similarity is lacking a user perspective. We argue that user preferences towards different aspects should be reflected in recommendations produced by the system. We incorporate the intent-aware framework into the item-based recommendation algorithm by injecting personalised intent-aware covariance into the item similarity measure, and explore the impact of such change on the performance of the algorithm. Our experiments show that the proposed method improves both accuracy and diversity of recommendations, offering better accuracy/diversity tradeoff than existing solutions.