A Scalable Hierarchical Distributed Language Model

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 21 (NIPS 2008)

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Andriy Mnih, Geoffrey E. Hinton


Neural probabilistic language models (NPLMs) have been shown to be competitive with and occasionally superior to the widely-used n-gram language models. The main drawback of NPLMs is their extremely long training and testing times. Morin and Bengio have proposed a hierarchical language model built around a binary tree of words that was two orders of magnitude faster than the non-hierarchical language model it was based on. However, it performed considerably worse than its non-hierarchical counterpart in spite of using a word tree created using expert knowledge. We introduce a fast hierarchical language model along with a simple feature-based algorithm for automatic construction of word trees from the data. We then show that the resulting models can outperform non-hierarchical models and achieve state-of-the-art performance.