Published on Mon Jan 15 2018

Topic Modeling on Health Journals with Regularized Variational Inference

Robert Giaquinto, Arindam Banerjee

The CaringBridge (CB) dataset is a massive collection of journals written by patients and caregivers during a health crisis. Topic modeling on the CB dataset is challenging due to the asynchronous nature of multiple authors writing about their health journeys. The Dynamic Author-Persona topic model (

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Abstract

Topic modeling enables exploration and compact representation of a corpus. The CaringBridge (CB) dataset is a massive collection of journals written by patients and caregivers during a health crisis. Topic modeling on the CB dataset, however, is challenging due to the asynchronous nature of multiple authors writing about their health journeys. To overcome this challenge we introduce the Dynamic Author-Persona topic model (DAP), a probabilistic graphical model designed for temporal corpora with multiple authors. The novelty of the DAP model lies in its representation of authors by a persona --- where personas capture the propensity to write about certain topics over time. Further, we present a regularized variational inference algorithm, which we use to encourage the DAP model's personas to be distinct. Our results show significant improvements over competing topic models --- particularly after regularization, and highlight the DAP model's unique ability to capture common journeys shared by different authors.