Collaborating Authors

Improving Topic Coherence with Regularized Topic Models

Neural Information Processing Systems

Topic models have the potential to improve search and browsing by extracting useful semantic themes from web pages and other text documents. When learned topics are coherent and interpretable, they can be valuable for faceted browsing, results set diversity analysis, and document retrieval. To overcome this, we propose two methods to regularize the learning of topic models. Our regularizers work by creating a structured prior over words that reflect broad patterns in the external data. Using thirteen datasets we show that both regularizers improve topic coherence and interpretability while learning a faithful representation of the collection of interest.


AAAI Conferences

Coherence that ties sentences of a text into a meaningfully connected structure is of great importance to text generation and translation. In this paper, we propose a topic-based coherence model to produce coherence for document translation, in terms of the continuity of sentence topics in a text. We automatically extract a coherence chain for each source text to be translated. Based on the extracted source coherence chain, we adopt a maximum entropy classifier to predict the target coherence chain that defines a linear topic structure for the target document. The proposed topic-based coherence model then uses the predicted target coherence chain to help decoder select coherent word/phrase translations. Our experiments show that incorporating the topic-based coherence model into machine translation achieves substantial improvement over both the baseline and previous methods that integrate document topics rather than coherence chains into machine translation.

Prediction Focused Topic Models for Electronic Health Records Machine Learning

Electronic Health Record (EHR) data can be represented as discrete counts over a high dimensional set of possible procedures, diagnoses, and medications. Supervised topic models present an attractive option for incorporating EHR data as features into a prediction problem: given a patient's record, we estimate a set of latent factors that are predictive of the response variable. However, existing methods for supervised topic modeling struggle to balance prediction quality and coherence of the latent factors. We introduce a novel approach, the prediction-focused topic model, that uses the supervisory signal to retain only features that improve, or do not hinder, prediction performance. By removing features with irrelevant signal, the topic model is able to learn task-relevant, interpretable topics. We demonstrate on a EHR dataset and a movie review dataset that compared to existing approaches, prediction-focused topic models are able to learn much more coherent topics while maintaining competitive predictions.

America's Next Topic Model


"How to choose the best topic model?" is the #1 question on our community mailing list. At RaRe Technologies I manage the community for the Python open source topic modeling package gensim. As so many people are looking for the answer, we've recently released an updated gensim 0.13.1 incorporating several new exciting features which evaluate if your model is any good, helping you to select the best topic model. Topic modeling is a technique for taking some unstructured text and automatically extracting its common themes, using machine learning. It is a great way to get a bird's eye view on a large text collection.

Automatic Evaluation of Local Topic Quality Machine Learning

Topic models are typically evaluated with respect to the global topic distributions that they generate, using metrics such as coherence, but without regard to local (token-level) topic assignments. Token-level assignments are important for downstream tasks such as classification. Even recent models, which aim to improve the quality of these token-level topic assignments, have been evaluated only with respect to global metrics. We propose a task designed to elicit human judgments of token-level topic assignments. We use a variety of topic model types and parameters and discover that global metrics agree poorly with human assignments. Since human evaluation is expensive we propose a variety of automated metrics to evaluate topic models at a local level. Finally, we correlate our proposed metrics with human judgments from the task on several datasets. We show that an evaluation based on the percent of topic switches correlates most strongly with human judgment of local topic quality. We suggest that this new metric, which we call consistency, be adopted alongside global metrics such as topic coherence when evaluating new topic models.