A Survey on Causal Inference for Recommendation

by   Huishi Luo, et al.

Recently, causal inference has attracted increasing attention from researchers of recommender systems (RS), which analyzes the relationship between a cause and its effect and has a wide range of real-world applications in multiple fields. Causal inference can model the causality in recommender systems like confounding effects and deal with counterfactual problems such as offline policy evaluation and data augmentation. Although there are already some valuable surveys on causal recommendations, these surveys introduce approaches in a relatively isolated way and lack theoretical analysis of existing methods. Due to the unfamiliarity with causality to RS researchers, it is both necessary and challenging to comprehensively review the relevant studies from the perspective of causal theory, which might be instructive for the readers to propose new approaches in practice. This survey attempts to provide a systematic review of up-to-date papers in this area from a theoretical standpoint. Firstly, we introduce the fundamental concepts of causal inference as the basis of the following review. Then we propose a new taxonomy from the perspective of causal techniques and further discuss technical details about how existing methods apply causal inference to address specific recommender issues. Finally, we highlight some promising directions for future research in this field.


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