Large Language Model Can Interpret Latent Space of Sequential Recommender


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Sequential recommendation is to predict the next item of interest for a user, based on her/his interaction history with previous items. In conventional sequential recommenders, a common approach is to model item sequences using discrete IDs, learning representations that encode sequential behaviors and reflect user preferences. Inspired by recent success in empowering large language models (LLMs) to understand and reason over diverse modality data (e.g., image, audio, 3D points), a compelling research question arises: ``Can LLMs understand and work with hidden representations from ID-based sequential recommenders?''.To answer this, we propose a simple framework, RecInterpreter, which examines the capacity of open-source LLMs to decipher the representation space of sequential recommenders. Specifically, with the multimodal pairs (\ie representations of interaction sequence and text narrations), RecInterpreter first uses a lightweight adapter to map the representations into the token embedding space of the LLM. Subsequently, it constructs a sequence-recovery prompt that encourages the LLM to generate textual descriptions for items within the interaction sequence. Taking a step further, we propose a sequence-residual prompt instead, which guides the LLM in identifying the residual item by contrasting the representations before and after integrating this residual into the existing sequence. Empirical results showcase that our RecInterpreter enhances the exemplar LLM, LLaMA, to understand hidden representations from ID-based sequential recommenders, especially when guided by our sequence-residual prompts. Furthermore, RecInterpreter enables LLaMA to instantiate the oracle items generated by generative recommenders like DreamRec, concreting the item a user would ideally like to interact with next. Codes are available at
large language model,recommender,latent space,sequential
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