Modeling Word Burstiness Using the Dirichlet Distribution

Rasmus Elsborg Madsen, David Kauchak, Charles Elkan

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    Multinomial distributions are often used to model text documents. However, they do not capture well the phenomenon that words in a document tend to appear in bursts: if a word appears once, it is more likely to appear again. In this paper, we propose the Dirichlet compound multinomial model (DCM) as an alternative to the multinomial. The DCM model has one additional degree of freedom, which allows it to capture burstiness. We show experimentally that the DCM is substantially better than the multinomial at modeling text data, measured by perplexity. We also show using three standard document collections that the DCM leads to better classification than the multinomial model. DCM performance is comparable to that obtained with multiple heuristic changes to the multinomial model.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Machine Learning
    Publication date2005
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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