Decoupling Sparsity and Smoothness in the Discrete Hierarchical Dirichlet Process

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 22 (NIPS 2009)

Bibtex »Metadata »Paper »Supplemental »


Chong Wang, David Blei


We present a nonparametric hierarchical Bayesian model of document collections that decouples sparsity and smoothness in the component distributions (i.e., the ``topics). In the sparse topic model (STM), each topic is represented by a bank of selector variables that determine which terms appear in the topic. Thus each topic is associated with a subset of the vocabulary, and topic smoothness is modeled on this subset. We develop an efficient Gibbs sampler for the STM that includes a general-purpose method for sampling from a Dirichlet mixture with a combinatorial number of components. We demonstrate the STM on four real-world datasets. Compared to traditional approaches, the empirical results show that STMs give better predictive performance with simpler inferred models.