Topic Modeling Revisited: A Document Graph-based Neural Network Perspective

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 34 (NeurIPS 2021)

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Dazhong Shen, Chuan Qin, Chao Wang, Zheng Dong, Hengshu Zhu, Hui Xiong


Most topic modeling approaches are based on the bag-of-words assumption, where each word is required to be conditionally independent in the same document. As a result, both of the generative story and the topic formulation have totally ignored the semantic dependency among words, which is important for improving the semantic comprehension and model interpretability. To this end, in this paper, we revisit the task of topic modeling by transforming each document into a directed graph with word dependency as edges between word nodes, and develop a novel approach, namely Graph Neural Topic Model (GNTM). Specifically, in GNTM, a well-defined probabilistic generative story is designed to model both the graph structure and word sets with multinomial distributions on the vocabulary and word dependency edge set as the topics. Meanwhile, a Neural Variational Inference (NVI) approach is proposed to learn our model with graph neural networks to encode the document graphs. Besides, we theoretically demonstrate that Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) can be derived from GNTM as a special case with similar objective functions. Finally, extensive experiments on four benchmark datasets have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness and interpretability of GNTM compared with state-of-the-art baselines.