Slice Sampling for LDA Hyperparameters


For latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) hyper-parameters, a typical approach is to utilize Monte-Carlo EM approach where E-step is approximated by Gibbs sampling while M-step is to perform a gradient-based optimization approach to optimize Dirichlet parameters. Such approach is implemented in Mallet package. For the detailed information about estimating Dirichlet parameters, see Tom Minka’s technical report.

Another less explored approach is to go with full Bayesian notion, interleaving sampling topic assignments and hyper-parameters. To sample hyper-parameters, as there is no closed-form solution, Slice Sampling is usually utilized. For introduction for Slice Sampling, see Radford M. Neal’s paper. For its application in LDA, please see the following two references:

  1. Hanna Wallach’s course note.
  2. Chapter 2 of Hanna Wallach’s dissertation.

We implemented the method in Fugue’s LDA algorithm.

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