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"Topic": models, code, and papers

Bayesian Analysis of Dynamic Linear Topic Models

Nov 12, 2015
Chris Glynn, Surya T. Tokdar, David L. Banks, Brian Howard

In dynamic topic modeling, the proportional contribution of a topic to a document depends on the temporal dynamics of that topic's overall prevalence in the corpus. We extend the Dynamic Topic Model of Blei and Lafferty (2006) by explicitly modeling document level topic proportions with covariates and dynamic structure that includes polynomial trends and periodicity. A Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm that utilizes Polya-Gamma data augmentation is developed for posterior inference. Conditional independencies in the model and sampling are made explicit, and our MCMC algorithm is parallelized where possible to allow for inference in large corpora. To address computational bottlenecks associated with Polya-Gamma sampling, we appeal to the Central Limit Theorem to develop a Gaussian approximation to the Polya-Gamma random variable. This approximation is fast and reliable for parameter values relevant in the text mining domain. Our model and inference algorithm are validated with multiple simulation examples, and we consider the application of modeling trends in PubMed abstracts. We demonstrate that sharing information across documents is critical for accurately estimating document-specific topic proportions. We also show that explicitly modeling polynomial and periodic behavior improves our ability to predict topic prevalence at future time points.

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A provable SVD-based algorithm for learning topics in dominant admixture corpus

Nov 04, 2014
Trapit Bansal, Chiranjib Bhattacharyya, Ravindran Kannan

Topic models, such as Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA), posit that documents are drawn from admixtures of distributions over words, known as topics. The inference problem of recovering topics from admixtures, is NP-hard. Assuming separability, a strong assumption, [4] gave the first provable algorithm for inference. For LDA model, [6] gave a provable algorithm using tensor-methods. But [4,6] do not learn topic vectors with bounded $l_1$ error (a natural measure for probability vectors). Our aim is to develop a model which makes intuitive and empirically supported assumptions and to design an algorithm with natural, simple components such as SVD, which provably solves the inference problem for the model with bounded $l_1$ error. A topic in LDA and other models is essentially characterized by a group of co-occurring words. Motivated by this, we introduce topic specific Catchwords, group of words which occur with strictly greater frequency in a topic than any other topic individually and are required to have high frequency together rather than individually. A major contribution of the paper is to show that under this more realistic assumption, which is empirically verified on real corpora, a singular value decomposition (SVD) based algorithm with a crucial pre-processing step of thresholding, can provably recover the topics from a collection of documents drawn from Dominant admixtures. Dominant admixtures are convex combination of distributions in which one distribution has a significantly higher contribution than others. Apart from the simplicity of the algorithm, the sample complexity has near optimal dependence on $w_0$, the lowest probability that a topic is dominant, and is better than [4]. Empirical evidence shows that on several real world corpora, both Catchwords and Dominant admixture assumptions hold and the proposed algorithm substantially outperforms the state of the art [5].

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Topically Driven Neural Language Model

May 02, 2017
Jey Han Lau, Timothy Baldwin, Trevor Cohn

Language models are typically applied at the sentence level, without access to the broader document context. We present a neural language model that incorporates document context in the form of a topic model-like architecture, thus providing a succinct representation of the broader document context outside of the current sentence. Experiments over a range of datasets demonstrate that our model outperforms a pure sentence-based model in terms of language model perplexity, and leads to topics that are potentially more coherent than those produced by a standard LDA topic model. Our model also has the ability to generate related sentences for a topic, providing another way to interpret topics.

* In Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2017), pp. 355--365 
* 11 pages, Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2017) (to appear) 

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On some provably correct cases of variational inference for topic models

Aug 22, 2015
Pranjal Awasthi, Andrej Risteski

Variational inference is a very efficient and popular heuristic used in various forms in the context of latent variable models. It's closely related to Expectation Maximization (EM), and is applied when exact EM is computationally infeasible. Despite being immensely popular, current theoretical understanding of the effectiveness of variaitonal inference based algorithms is very limited. In this work we provide the first analysis of instances where variational inference algorithms converge to the global optimum, in the setting of topic models. More specifically, we show that variational inference provably learns the optimal parameters of a topic model under natural assumptions on the topic-word matrix and the topic priors. The properties that the topic word matrix must satisfy in our setting are related to the topic expansion assumption introduced in (Anandkumar et al., 2013), as well as the anchor words assumption in (Arora et al., 2012c). The assumptions on the topic priors are related to the well known Dirichlet prior, introduced to the area of topic modeling by (Blei et al., 2003). It is well known that initialization plays a crucial role in how well variational based algorithms perform in practice. The initializations that we use are fairly natural. One of them is similar to what is currently used in LDA-c, the most popular implementation of variational inference for topic models. The other one is an overlapping clustering algorithm, inspired by a work by (Arora et al., 2014) on dictionary learning, which is very simple and efficient. While our primary goal is to provide insights into when variational inference might work in practice, the multiplicative, rather than the additive nature of the variational inference updates forces us to use fairly non-standard proof arguments, which we believe will be of general interest.

* 46 pages, Compared to previous version: clarified notation, a number of typos fixed throughout paper 

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Term-community-based topic detection with variable resolution

Mar 25, 2021
Andreas Hamm, Simon Odrowski

Network-based procedures for topic detection in huge text collections offer an intuitive alternative to probabilistic topic models. We present in detail a method that is especially designed with the requirements of domain experts in mind. Like similar methods, it employs community detection in term co-occurrence graphs, but it is enhanced by including a resolution parameter that can be used for changing the targeted topic granularity. We also establish a term ranking and use semantic word-embedding for presenting term communities in a way that facilitates their interpretation. We demonstrate the application of our method with a widely used corpus of general news articles and show the results of detailed social-sciences expert evaluations of detected topics at various resolutions. A comparison with topics detected by Latent Dirichlet Allocation is also included. Finally, we discuss factors that influence topic interpretation.

* 23 pages, 5 figures 

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Twitter-Network Topic Model: A Full Bayesian Treatment for Social Network and Text Modeling

Sep 22, 2016
Kar Wai Lim, Changyou Chen, Wray Buntine

Twitter data is extremely noisy -- each tweet is short, unstructured and with informal language, a challenge for current topic modeling. On the other hand, tweets are accompanied by extra information such as authorship, hashtags and the user-follower network. Exploiting this additional information, we propose the Twitter-Network (TN) topic model to jointly model the text and the social network in a full Bayesian nonparametric way. The TN topic model employs the hierarchical Poisson-Dirichlet processes (PDP) for text modeling and a Gaussian process random function model for social network modeling. We show that the TN topic model significantly outperforms several existing nonparametric models due to its flexibility. Moreover, the TN topic model enables additional informative inference such as authors' interests, hashtag analysis, as well as leading to further applications such as author recommendation, automatic topic labeling and hashtag suggestion. Note our general inference framework can readily be applied to other topic models with embedded PDP nodes.

* NIPS 2013 Topic Models: Computation, Application, and Evaluation, pp. 1-5. Google Sites. 2013 
* NIPS workshop paper 

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Topic Similarity Networks: Visual Analytics for Large Document Sets

Sep 26, 2014
Arun S. Maiya, Robert M. Rolfe

We investigate ways in which to improve the interpretability of LDA topic models by better analyzing and visualizing their outputs. We focus on examining what we refer to as topic similarity networks: graphs in which nodes represent latent topics in text collections and links represent similarity among topics. We describe efficient and effective approaches to both building and labeling such networks. Visualizations of topic models based on these networks are shown to be a powerful means of exploring, characterizing, and summarizing large collections of unstructured text documents. They help to "tease out" non-obvious connections among different sets of documents and provide insights into how topics form larger themes. We demonstrate the efficacy and practicality of these approaches through two case studies: 1) NSF grants for basic research spanning a 14 year period and 2) the entire English portion of Wikipedia.

* 9 pages; 2014 IEEE International Conference on Big Data (IEEE BigData 2014) 

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jLDADMM: A Java package for the LDA and DMM topic models

Aug 11, 2018
Dat Quoc Nguyen

In this technical report, we present jLDADMM---an easy-to-use Java toolkit for conventional topic models. jLDADMM is released to provide alternatives for topic modeling on normal or short texts. It provides implementations of the Latent Dirichlet Allocation topic model and the one-topic-per-document Dirichlet Multinomial Mixture model (i.e. mixture of unigrams), using collapsed Gibbs sampling. In addition, jLDADMM supplies a document clustering evaluation to compare topic models. jLDADMM is open-source and available to download at:

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Re-Ranking Words to Improve Interpretability of Automatically Generated Topics

Mar 29, 2019
Areej Alokaili, Nikolaos Aletras, Mark Stevenson

Topics models, such as LDA, are widely used in Natural Language Processing. Making their output interpretable is an important area of research with applications to areas such as the enhancement of exploratory search interfaces and the development of interpretable machine learning models. Conventionally, topics are represented by their n most probable words, however, these representations are often difficult for humans to interpret. This paper explores the re-ranking of topic words to generate more interpretable topic representations. A range of approaches are compared and evaluated in two experiments. The first uses crowdworkers to associate topics represented by different word rankings with related documents. The second experiment is an automatic approach based on a document retrieval task applied on multiple domains. Results in both experiments demonstrate that re-ranking words improves topic interpretability and that the most effective re-ranking schemes were those which combine information about the importance of words both within topics and their relative frequency in the entire corpus. In addition, close correlation between the results of the two evaluation approaches suggests that the automatic method proposed here could be used to evaluate re-ranking methods without the need for human judgements.

* Paper accepted for publication at IWCS 2019 

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TWAG: A Topic-Guided Wikipedia Abstract Generator

Jun 29, 2021
Fangwei Zhu, Shangqing Tu, Jiaxin Shi, Juanzi Li, Lei Hou, Tong Cui

Wikipedia abstract generation aims to distill a Wikipedia abstract from web sources and has met significant success by adopting multi-document summarization techniques. However, previous works generally view the abstract as plain text, ignoring the fact that it is a description of a certain entity and can be decomposed into different topics. In this paper, we propose a two-stage model TWAG that guides the abstract generation with topical information. First, we detect the topic of each input paragraph with a classifier trained on existing Wikipedia articles to divide input documents into different topics. Then, we predict the topic distribution of each abstract sentence, and decode the sentence from topic-aware representations with a Pointer-Generator network. We evaluate our model on the WikiCatSum dataset, and the results show that \modelnames outperforms various existing baselines and is capable of generating comprehensive abstracts. Our code and dataset can be accessed at \url{}

* Accepted by ACL 2021 

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