Presented at KDD, August 11, 2015.
Abstract of the paper:
Machine learning techniques have proved effective in recommender systems and other applications, yet teams working to deploy them lack many of the advantages that those in more established software disciplines today take for granted. The well-known Agile methodology advances projects in a chain of rapid development cycles, with subsequent steps often informed by production experiments. Support for such workflow in machine learning applications remains primitive.
The platform developed at if(we) embodies a specific machine learning approach and a rigorous data architecture constraint, so allowing teams to work in rapid iterative cycles. We require models to consume data from a time-ordered event history, and we focus on facilitating creative feature engineering. We make it practical for data scientists to use the same model code in development and in production deployment, and make it practical for them to collaborate on complex models.
We deliver real-time recommendations at scale, returning top results from among 10,000,000 candidates with sub-second response times and incorporating new updates in just a few seconds. Using the approach and architecture described here, our team can routinely go from ideas for new models to production-validated results within two weeks.