Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science


There is a substantial increase in demand for recommender systems which have applications in a variety of domains. The goal of recommendations is to provide relevant choices to users. In practice, there are multiple methodologies in which recommendations take place like Collaborative Filtering (CF), Content-based filtering and Hybrid approach. For this paper, we will consider these approaches to be traditional approaches. The advantages of these approaches are in their design, functionality and efficiency. However, they do suffer from some major problems such as data sparsity, scalability and cold start to name a few. Among these problems, cold start is an intriguing area which has been plaguing recommender systems. Cold start problem occurs when the recommender system is not able to recommend new users/items since there is data sparsity. Researchers have formulated innovative techniques to alleviate cold start and the existing research conducted in this area is tremendous since the problem materializes in different use cases. Cold start is categorized into three problems. The first problem is when new users needs product recommendations from the system. The second problem is when new products listed in the system need to be recommended to existing users. The last problem is when new users and new products are present and the recommender engine needs to generate relevant recommendations. In this thesis, we concentrate on the first problem, where a user who is completely new to the system needs quality recommendations. We use a movie recommendation platform as our use case to analyze user demographics and find similarities between existing and new users to produce relevant recommendations.