Many applications infer the structure of a probabilistic graphical model from data to elucidate the relationships between variables. But how can we train graphical models on a massive data set? In this paper, we show how to construct coresets---compressed data sets which can be used as proxy for the original data and have provably bounded worst case error---for Gaussian dependency networks (DNs), i.e., cyclic directed graphical models over Gaussians, where the parents of each variable are its Markov blanket. Specifically, we prove that Gaussian DNs admit coresets of size independent of the size of the data set. Unfortunately, this does not extend to DNs over members of the exponential family in general. As we will prove, Poisson DNs do not admit small coresets. Despite this worst-case result, we will provide an argument why our coreset construction for DNs can still work well in practice on count data.To corroborate our theoretical results, we empirically evaluated the resulting Core DNs on real data sets. The results demonstrate significant gains over no or naive sub-sampling, even in the case of count data.
We develop a fast algorithm for the Admixture of Poisson MRFs (APM) topic model and propose a novel metric to directly evaluate this model. The APM topic model recently introduced by Inouye et al. (2014) is the first topic model that allows for word dependencies within each topic unlike in previous topic models like LDA that assume independence between words within a topic. Research in both the semantic coherence of a topic models (Mimno et al. 2011, Newman et al. 2010) and measures of model fitness (Mimno & Blei 2011) provide strong support that explicitly modeling word dependencies---as in APM---could be both semantically meaningful and essential for appropriately modeling real text data. Though APM shows significant promise for providing a better topic model, APM has a high computational complexity because $O(p 2)$ parameters must be estimated where $p$ is the number of words (Inouye et al. could only provide results for datasets with $p 200$). In light of this, we develop a parallel alternating Newton-like algorithm for training the APM model that can handle $p 10 4$ as an important step towards scaling to large datasets.
Named entity recognition (NER), which focuses on the extraction of semantically meaningful named entities and their semantic classes from text, serves as an indispensable component for several down-stream natural language processing (NLP) tasks such as relation extraction and event extraction. Dependency trees, on the other hand, also convey crucial semantic-level information. It has been shown previously that such information can be used to improve the performance of NER. In this work, we investigate on how to better utilize the structured information conveyed by dependency trees to improve the performance of NER. Specifically, unlike existing approaches which only exploit dependency information for designing local features, we show that certain global structured information of the dependency trees can be exploited when building NER models where such information can provide guided learning and inference. Through extensive experiments, we show that our proposed novel dependency-guided NER model performs competitively with models based on conventional semi-Markov conditional random fields, while requiring significantly less running time.