Learners : Matchbox recommenderLearner APIData mappings

Standard data format mapping

The standard data format mapping is declared in the IStarRatingRecommenderMapping interface. It contains seven methods.

IEnumerable<TInstance> GetInstances(TInstanceSource instanceSource);
TUser GetUser(TInstanceSource instanceSource, TInstance instance);
TItem GetItem(TInstanceSource instanceSource, TInstance instance);
TRating GetRating(TInstanceSource instanceSource, TInstance instance);

These four methods deal with the instance data. GetInstances returns the collection of instances, and then GetUser, GetItem, and GetRating know how to extract the user, item, and rating respectively from the corresponding instance. These methods are all called during training, and all of them except GetRating are called during bulk rating prediction. Note that GetUser, GetItem, and GetRating take as inputs not only the instance itself, but also an instance source. This is because one can choose to implement a mapping where the instance is a pointer in an instance source; for example, an index to a row in a collection. In the other case, when the instance actually contains the user, item and rating, then the instance source is not used in the implementation of these methods. 

TFeatureValues GetUserFeatures(TFeatureSource featureSource, TUser user);
TFeatureValues GetItemFeatures(TFeatureSource featureSource, TItem item);

The GetUserFeatures and GetItemFeatures methods are optional and can be used when user or item features are available. These methods are meant to be generic and not bound to Infer.NET, so the return types were left open. However, in order to be able to use them with the Matchbox Recommender, you have to bind the return type to the Infer.NET Vector type (MicrosoftResearch.Infer.Maths.Vector) which supports both sparse and dense data. Similar to the instance-related methods, the feature-related ones accept a feature source that can be useful if the user or item points into it, or otherwise omitted when the user or item object contains the features internally.

IStarRatingInfo<TRating> GetRatingInfo(TInstanceSource instanceSource);

The GetRatingInfo method is used to convert the ratings from the data domain into the model domain. If your ratings are already consecutive integers, you can return an instance of StarRatingInfo. This class implements the IStarRatingInfo interface, and its constructor takes two integers - the minimum and the maximum rating values. If you need to convert the ratings into the model domain on the fly, simply provide your own implementation of IStarRatingInfo. It has to define the MinStarRating and MaxStarRating properties, as well as the ToStarRating method, which takes in a generic rating value and returns an integer. You might need to manually implement IStarRatingInfo when the ratings are floating-point numbers, for example.

Here is an example of a standard format data mapping implementation:

public class StandardRecommenderTestMapping : IStarRatingRecommenderMapping
<StandardDataset, Tuple<User, Item, int?>, User, Item, int, FeatureProvider, Vector>
    public IEnumerable<Tuple<User, Item, int?>> GetInstances(StandardDataset instanceSource)
    { return instanceSource.Observations; }
    public User GetUser(StandardDataset instanceSource, Tuple<User, Item, int?> instance)
    { return instance.Item1; }
    public Item GetItem(StandardDataset instanceSource, Tuple<User, Item, int?> instance)
    { return instance.Item2; }
    public int GetRating(StandardDataset instanceSource, Tuple<User, Item, int?> instance)
        if (instance.Item3 == null)
            throw new ArgumentException(
"Rating is not contained in the given instance", "instance");
        return instance.Item3.Value;
    public virtual Vector GetUserFeatures(FeatureProvider featureSource, User user)
    { return featureSource.UserFeatures[user]; }
    public virtual Vector GetItemFeatures(FeatureProvider featureSource, Item item)
    { return featureSource.ItemFeatures[item]; }
    public IStarRatingInfo<int> GetRatingInfo(StandardDataset instanceSource)
    { return new StarRatingInfo(0, 5); }


Also, here are the type definitions used in this mapping:

public class StandardDataset
    public List<Tuple<User, Item, int?>> Observations { get; set; }
public class FeatureProvider
    public IDictionary<User, Vector> UserFeatures { get; set; }
    public IDictionary<Item, Vector> ItemFeatures { get; set; }
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