The Geometric Structure of Topic Models

Johannes Hirth, Tom Hanika
Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI)
2024-03-06 00:00:00
Topic models are a popular tool for clustering and analyzing textual data. They allow texts to be classified on the basis of their affiliation to the previously calculated topics. Despite their widespread use in research and application, an in-depth analysis of topic models is still an open research topic. State-of-the-art methods for interpreting topic models are based on simple visualizations, such as similarity matrices, top-term lists or embeddings, which are limited to a maximum of three dimensions. In this paper, we propose an incidence-geometric method for deriving an ordinal structure from flat topic models, such as non-negative matrix factorization. These enable the analysis of the topic model in a higher (order) dimension and the possibility of extracting conceptual relationships between several topics at once. Due to the use of conceptual scaling, our approach does not introduce any artificial topical relationships, such as artifacts of feature compression. Based on our findings, we present a new visualization paradigm for concept hierarchies based on ordinal motifs. These allow for a top-down view on topic spaces. We introduce and demonstrate the applicability of our approach based on a topic model derived from a corpus of scientific papers taken from 32 top machine learning venues.
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