TEETRINKEN IN WALES (YN YFED PANAD O DE)

Juli 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — nettys @ 7:17 pm

The Stone and the Shell

Right now, humanists often have to take topic modeling on faith. There are several good posts out there that introduce the principle of the thing (by Matt Jockers, for instance, and Scott Weingart). But it’s a long step up from those posts to the computer-science articles that explain „Latent Dirichlet Allocation“ mathematically. My goal in this post is to provide a bridge between those two levels of difficulty.

Computer scientists make LDA seem complicated because they care about proving that their algorithms work. And the proof is indeed brain-squashingly hard. But the practice of topic modeling makes good sense on its own, without proof, and does not require you to spend even a second thinking about „Dirichlet distributions.“ When the math is approached in a practical way, I think humanists will find it easy, intuitive, and empowering. This post focuses on LDA as shorthand for a broader family…

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