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"Topic Modeling": models, code, and papers

Examining Racial Bias in an Online Abuse Corpus with Structural Topic Modeling

May 26, 2020
Thomas Davidson, Debasmita Bhattacharya

We use structural topic modeling to examine racial bias in data collected to train models to detect hate speech and abusive language in social media posts. We augment the abusive language dataset by adding an additional feature indicating the predicted probability of the tweet being written in African-American English. We then use structural topic modeling to examine the content of the tweets and how the prevalence of different topics is related to both abusiveness annotation and dialect prediction. We find that certain topics are disproportionately racialized and considered abusive. We discuss how topic modeling may be a useful approach for identifying bias in annotated data.

* Please cite the published version, see proceedings of ICWSM 2020 

Topic Grouper: An Agglomerative Clustering Approach to Topic Modeling

Apr 13, 2019
Daniel Pfeifer, Jochen L. Leidner

We introduce Topic Grouper as a complementary approach in the field of probabilistic topic modeling. Topic Grouper creates a disjunctive partitioning of the training vocabulary in a stepwise manner such that resulting partitions represent topics. It is governed by a simple generative model, where the likelihood to generate the training documents via topics is optimized. The algorithm starts with one-word topics and joins two topics at every step. It therefore generates a solution for every desired number of topics ranging between the size of the training vocabulary and one. The process represents an agglomerative clustering that corresponds to a binary tree of topics. A resulting tree may act as a containment hierarchy, typically with more general topics towards the root of tree and more specific topics towards the leaves. Topic Grouper is not governed by a background distribution such as the Dirichlet and avoids hyper parameter optimizations. We show that Topic Grouper has reasonable predictive power and also a reasonable theoretical and practical complexity. Topic Grouper can deal well with stop words and function words and tends to push them into their own topics. Also, it can handle topic distributions, where some topics are more frequent than others. We present typical examples of computed topics from evaluation datasets, where topics appear conclusive and coherent. In this context, the fact that each word belongs to exactly one topic is not a major limitation; in some scenarios this can even be a genuine advantage, e.g.~a related shopping basket analysis may aid in optimizing groupings of articles in sales catalogs.


Nested Variational Autoencoder for Topic Modeling on Microtexts with Word Vectors

Jun 03, 2019
Trung Trinh, Tho Quan, Trung Mai

Most of the information on the Internet is represented in the form of microtexts, which are short text snippets like news headlines or tweets. These source of information is abundant and mining this data could uncover meaningful insights. Topic modeling is one of the popular methods to extract knowledge from a collection of documents, nevertheless conventional topic models such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) is unable to perform well on short documents, mostly due to the scarcity of word co-occurrence statistics embedded in the data. The objective of our research is to create a topic model which can achieve great performances on microtexts while requiring a small runtime for scalability to large datasets. To solve the lack of information of microtexts, we allow our method to take advantage of word embeddings for additional knowledge of relationships between words. For speed and scalability, we apply Auto-Encoding Variational Bayes, an algorithm that can perform efficient black-box inference in probabilistic models. The result of our work is a novel topic model called Nested Variational Autoencoder which is a distribution that takes into account word vectors and is parameterized by a neural network architecture. For optimization, the model is trained to approximate the posterior distribution of the original LDA model. Experiments show the improvements of our model on microtexts as well as its runtime advantage.

* 27 pages, 9 figures, under review at Expert Systems 

Document Informed Neural Autoregressive Topic Models

Aug 11, 2018
Pankaj Gupta, Florian Buettner, Hinrich Schütze

Context information around words helps in determining their actual meaning, for example "networks" used in contexts of artificial neural networks or biological neuron networks. Generative topic models infer topic-word distributions, taking no or only little context into account. Here, we extend a neural autoregressive topic model to exploit the full context information around words in a document in a language modeling fashion. This results in an improved performance in terms of generalization, interpretability and applicability. We apply our modeling approach to seven data sets from various domains and demonstrate that our approach consistently outperforms stateof-the-art generative topic models. With the learned representations, we show on an average a gain of 9.6% (0.57 Vs 0.52) in precision at retrieval fraction 0.02 and 7.2% (0.582 Vs 0.543) in F1 for text categorization.


Computing Web-scale Topic Models using an Asynchronous Parameter Server

Jun 18, 2017
Rolf Jagerman, Carsten Eickhoff, Maarten de Rijke

Topic models such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) have been widely used in information retrieval for tasks ranging from smoothing and feedback methods to tools for exploratory search and discovery. However, classical methods for inferring topic models do not scale up to the massive size of today's publicly available Web-scale data sets. The state-of-the-art approaches rely on custom strategies, implementations and hardware to facilitate their asynchronous, communication-intensive workloads. We present APS-LDA, which integrates state-of-the-art topic modeling with cluster computing frameworks such as Spark using a novel asynchronous parameter server. Advantages of this integration include convenient usage of existing data processing pipelines and eliminating the need for disk writes as data can be kept in memory from start to finish. Our goal is not to outperform highly customized implementations, but to propose a general high-performance topic modeling framework that can easily be used in today's data processing pipelines. We compare APS-LDA to the existing Spark LDA implementations and show that our system can, on a 480-core cluster, process up to 135 times more data and 10 times more topics without sacrificing model quality.

* To appear in SIGIR 2017 

Interactive Visual Exploration of Topic Models using Graphs

Nov 27, 2014
Samuel Rönnqvist, Xiaolu Wang, Peter Sarlin

Probabilistic topic modeling is a popular and powerful family of tools for uncovering thematic structure in large sets of unstructured text documents. While much attention has been directed towards the modeling algorithms and their various extensions, comparatively few studies have concerned how to present or visualize topic models in meaningful ways. In this paper, we present a novel design that uses graphs to visually communicate topic structure and meaning. By connecting topic nodes via descriptive keyterms, the graph representation reveals topic similarities, topic meaning and shared, ambiguous keyterms. At the same time, the graph can be used for information retrieval purposes, to find documents by topic or topic subsets. To exemplify the utility of the design, we illustrate its use for organizing and exploring corpora of financial patents.

* Online demo at appears in Proceedings of the 2014 Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis) 

Semantic Concept Spaces: Guided Topic Model Refinement using Word-Embedding Projections

Aug 01, 2019
Mennatallah El-Assady, Rebecca Kehlbeck, Christopher Collins, Daniel Keim, Oliver Deussen

We present a framework that allows users to incorporate the semantics of their domain knowledge for topic model refinement while remaining model-agnostic. Our approach enables users to (1) understand the semantic space of the model, (2) identify regions of potential conflicts and problems, and (3) readjust the semantic relation of concepts based on their understanding, directly influencing the topic modeling. These tasks are supported by an interactive visual analytics workspace that uses word-embedding projections to define concept regions which can then be refined. The user-refined concepts are independent of a particular document collection and can be transferred to related corpora. All user interactions within the concept space directly affect the semantic relations of the underlying vector space model, which, in turn, change the topic modeling. In addition to direct manipulation, our system guides the users' decision-making process through recommended interactions that point out potential improvements. This targeted refinement aims at minimizing the feedback required for an efficient human-in-the-loop process. We confirm the improvements achieved through our approach in two user studies that show topic model quality improvements through our visual knowledge externalization and learning process.

* IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, 2019 

Explainable and Discourse Topic-aware Neural Language Understanding

Jun 19, 2020
Yatin Chaudhary, Hinrich Schütze, Pankaj Gupta

Marrying topic models and language models exposes language understanding to a broader source of document-level context beyond sentences via topics. While introducing topical semantics in language models, existing approaches incorporate latent document topic proportions and ignore topical discourse in sentences of the document. This work extends the line of research by additionally introducing an explainable topic representation in language understanding, obtained from a set of key terms correspondingly for each latent topic of the proportion. Moreover, we retain sentence-topic associations along with document-topic association by modeling topical discourse for every sentence in the document. We present a novel neural composite language model that exploits both the latent and explainable topics along with topical discourse at sentence-level in a joint learning framework of topic and language models. Experiments over a range of tasks such as language modeling, word sense disambiguation, document classification, retrieval and text generation demonstrate ability of the proposed model in improving language understanding.

* Accepted at ICML2020 (13 pages, 2 figures), acknowledgements added 

Survival-Supervised Topic Modeling with Anchor Words: Characterizing Pancreatitis Outcomes

Dec 07, 2017
George H. Chen, Jeremy C. Weiss

We introduce a new approach for topic modeling that is supervised by survival analysis. Specifically, we build on recent work on unsupervised topic modeling with so-called anchor words by providing supervision through an elastic-net regularized Cox proportional hazards model. In short, an anchor word being present in a document provides strong indication that the document is partially about a specific topic. For example, by seeing "gallstones" in a document, we are fairly certain that the document is partially about medicine. Our proposed method alternates between learning a topic model and learning a survival model to find a local minimum of a block convex optimization problem. We apply our proposed approach to predicting how long patients with pancreatitis admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) will stay in the ICU. Our approach is as accurate as the best of a variety of baselines while being more interpretable than any of the baselines.

* NIPS Workshop on Machine Learning for Health 2017, fixed some equation typos, some minor wording edits