Estimating Topic Modeling Performance with Sharma–Mittal Entropy
Topic modeling is a popular approach for clustering text documents. However, current tools have a number of unsolved problems such as instability and a lack of criteria for selecting the values of model parameters. In this work, we propose a method to solve partially the problems of optimizing model parameters, simultaneously accounting for semantic stability. Our method is inspired by the concepts from statistical physics and is based on Sharma–Mittal entropy. We test our approach on two models: probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis (pLSA) and Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) with Gibbs sampling, and on two datasets in different languages. We compare our approach against a number of standard metrics, each of which is able to account for just one of the parameters of our interest. We demonstrate that Sharma–Mittal entropy is a convenient tool for selecting both the number of topics and the values of hyper-parameters, simultaneously controlling for semantic stability, which none of the existing metrics can do. Furthermore, we show that concepts from statistical physics can be used to contribute to theory construction for machine learning, a rapidly-developing sphere that currently lacks a consistent theoretical ground.