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Location Prediction over Sparse User Mobility Traces using RNNs: Flashback in Hidden States!

Abstract

Location prediction is a key problem in human mobility modeling, which predicts a user’s next location based on historical user mobility traces. As a sequential prediction problem by nature, it has been recently studied using Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs). Due to the sparsity of user mobility traces, existing techniques strive to improve RNNs by considering spatiotemporal contexts. The most adopted scheme is to incorporate spatiotemporal factors into the recurrent hidden state passing process of RNNs using context-parameterized transition matrices or gates. However, such a scheme oversimplifies the temporal periodicity and spatial regularity of user mobility, and thus cannot fully benefit from rich historical spatiotemporal contexts encoded in user mobility traces. Against this background, we propose Flashback, a general RNN architecture designed for modeling sparse user mobility traces by doing flashbacks on hidden states in RNNs. Specifically, Flashback explicitly uses spatiotemporal contexts to search past hidden states with high predictive power (i.e., historical hidden states sharing similar contexts as the current one) for location prediction, which can then directly benefit from rich spatiotemporal contexts. Our extensive evaluation compares Flashback against a sizable collection of state-of-the-art techniques on two real-world LBSN datasets. Results show that Flashback consistently and significantly outperforms state-of-the-art RNNs involving spatiotemporal factors by 15.9% to 27.6% in the next location prediction task.

Results

Gowalla Foursquare
Acc@1 Acc@5 Acc@10 MRR Acc@1 Acc@5 Acc@10 MRR
Flashback (RNN) 0.1158 0.2754 0.3479 0.1925 0.2496 0.5399 0.6236 0.3805
Flashback (LSTM) 0.1024 0.2576 0.3317 0.1778 0.2398 0.5169 0.6014 0.3654
Flashback (GRU) 0.0979 0.2526 0.3267 0.1731 0.2375 0.5154 0.6003 0.3631

Usage

Download and store dataset files under ./data/ (instructions in ./data/README.md).

Run python train.py [--dataset NAME].

Cite

If you find this code useful, consider to cite our paper ijcai20.pdf:

Dingqi Yang , Benjamin Fankhauser, Paolo Rosso, and Philippe Cudre-Mauroux, Location Prediction over Sparse User Mobility Traces using RNNs: Flashback in Hidden States! In Proc. of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI'20). July 2020, Japan.

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