KuaiSim: A Comprehensive Simulator for Recommender Systems


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Reinforcement Learning (RL)-based recommender systems (RSs) have garnered considerable attention due to their ability to learn optimal recommendation policies and maximize long-term user rewards. However, deploying RL models directly in online environments and generating authentic data through A/B tests can pose challenges and require substantial resources. Simulators offer an alternative approach by providing training and evaluation environments for RS models, reducing reliance on real-world data. Existing simulators have shown promising results but also have limitations such as simplified user feedback, lacking consistency with real-world data, the challenge of simulator evaluation, and difficulties in migration and expansion across RSs. To address these challenges, we propose KuaiSim, a comprehensive user environment that provides user feedback with multi-behavior and cross-session responses. The resulting simulator can support three levels of recommendation problems: the request level list-wise recommendation task, the whole-session level sequential recommendation task, and the cross-session level retention optimization task. For each task, KuaiSim also provides evaluation protocols and baseline recommendation algorithms that further serve as benchmarks for future research. We also restructure existing competitive simulators on the KuaiRand Dataset and compare them against KuaiSim to future assess their performance and behavioral differences. Furthermore, to showcase KuaiSim's flexibility in accommodating different datasets, we demonstrate its versatility and robustness when deploying it on the ML-1m dataset.
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