Point-of-interest (POI) recommendation is one of the fundamental tasks for location-based social networks (LBSNs). Some existing methods are mostly based on collaborative filtering (CF), Markov chain (MC) and recurrent neural network (RNN). However, it is difficult to capture dynamic user’s preferences using CF based methods. MC based methods suffer from strong independence assumptions. RNN based methods are still in the early stage of incorporating spatiotemporal context information, and the user’s main behavioral intention in the current sequence is not emphasized. To solve these problems, we proposed an attention-based spatiotemporal gated recurrent unit (ATST-GRU) network model for POI recommendation in this paper. We first designed a novel variant of GRU, which acquired the user’s sequential preference and spatiotemporal preference by feeding the continuous geographical distance and time interval information into the GRU network in each time step. Then, we integrated an attention model into our network, which is a personalized process and can capture the user’s main behavioral intention in the user’s check-in history. Moreover, we conducted an extensive performance evaluation on two real-world datasets: Foursquare and Gowalla. The experimental results demonstrated that the proposed ATST-GRU network outperforms the existing state-of-the-art POI recommendation methods significantly regarding two commonly-used evaluation metrics.
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