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A hierarchical multi-criteria sorting approach for recommender systems

An Erratum to this article was published on 04 September 2015


Classification problems refer to the assignment of alternatives to predefined categories. In this work we focus on ordered classification, called sorting, in which the predefined categories indicate several degrees of interest or suitability of alternatives for a certain user. The assignment of alternatives is based on multiple conflicting criteria. This multi-criteria sorting approach is specially interesting for recommender systems aimed at finding the most suitable alternatives for each user. First, we study the ELECTRE-TRI-B sorting method, which follows the outranking approach based on comparing the evaluations of alternatives with the profile limits separating the categories. The complexity of some recommenders systems requires the extension of the classical ELECTRE-TRI-B method to manage a taxonomical organization of the set of criteria. In this paper we consider a set of criteria in the form of a hierarchy. The intermediate criteria in such a hierarchy correspond to different aspects of the recommendation procedure, such as content, context or cost. At each of these criteria, a sorting problem must be solved. Therefore, we propose extending ELECTRE-TRI-B to handle assignments of alternatives on several levels of the hierarchy. A hierarchical procedure for sorting is proposed, called ELECTRE-TRI-B-H. Secondly, the paper explains the integration of ELECTRE-TRI-B-H into a recommender system of touristic activities related to wine, called GoEno-Tur. This system is developed for the region of Tarragona, Catalonia (Spain), which is a well-recognized area of wine and cava production.

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This project has been funded by the Spanish research project SHADE (TIN-2012-34369: Semantic and Hierarchical Attributes in Decision Making). Luis Del Vasto-Terrientes is supported by a FI predoctoral grant from Generalitat de Catalunya (2014 FI_B200023). Joan Borràs is affiliated to the Science and Technology Park for Tourism and Leisure (PCT) in Vila-Seca, Catalonia (Spain). The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

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Vasto-Terrientes, L.D., Valls, A., Zielniewicz, P. et al. A hierarchical multi-criteria sorting approach for recommender systems. J Intell Inf Syst 46, 313–346 (2016).

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  • Recommender systems
  • Classification
  • Sorting
  • Hierarchy of criteria
  • Decision support systems