Dynamic Rank Factor Model for Text Streams

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 27 (NIPS 2014)

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Shaobo Han, Lin Du, Esther Salazar, Lawrence Carin


We propose a semi-parametric and dynamic rank factor model for topic modeling, capable of (1) discovering topic prevalence over time, and (2) learning contemporary multi-scale dependence structures, providing topic and word correlations as a byproduct. The high-dimensional and time-evolving ordinal/rank observations (such as word counts), after an arbitrary monotone transformation, are well accommodated through an underlying dynamic sparse factor model. The framework naturally admits heavy-tailed innovations, capable of inferring abrupt temporal jumps in the importance of topics. Posterior inference is performed through straightforward Gibbs sampling, based on the forward-filtering backward-sampling algorithm. Moreover, an efficient data subsampling scheme is leveraged to speed up inference on massive datasets. The modeling framework is illustrated on two real datasets: the US State of the Union Address and the JSTOR collection from Science.