Benchmarking and Improving Recovery of Number of Topics in Latent Dirichlet Allocation Models

Authors: Jason Hou-Liu

Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) is a generative model describing the observed data as being composed of a mixture of underlying unobserved topics, as introduced by Blei et al. (2003). A key hyperparameter of LDA is the number of underlying topics k, which must be estimated empirically in practice. Selecting the appropriate value of k is essentially selecting the correct model to represent the data; an important issue concerning the goodness of fit. We examine in the current work a series of metrics from literature on a quantitative basis by performing benchmarks against a generated dataset with a known value of k and evaluate the ability of each metric to recover the true value, varying over multiple levels of topic resolution in the Dirichlet prior distributions. Finally, we introduce a new metric and heuristic for estimating kand demonstrate improved performance over existing metrics from the literature on several benchmarks.

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[v1] 2018-01-04 23:57:59

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