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41
An Empirical Study of Smoothing Techniques for Language Modeling
, 1998
"... We present an extensive empirical comparison of several smoothing techniques in the domain of language modeling, including those described by Jelinek and Mercer (1980), Katz (1987), and Church and Gale (1991). We investigate for the first time how factors such as training data size, corpus (e.g., Br ..."
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Cited by 1188 (21 self)
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We present an extensive empirical comparison of several smoothing techniques in the domain of language modeling, including those described by Jelinek and Mercer (1980), Katz (1987), and Church and Gale (1991). We investigate for the first time how factors such as training data size, corpus (e.g., Brown versus Wall Street Journal), and ngram order (bigram versus trigram) affect the relative performance of these methods, which we measure through the crossentropy of test data. In addition, we introduce two novel smoothing techniques, one a variation of JelinekMercer smoothing and one a very simple linear interpolation technique, both of which outperform existing methods. 1
A Gaussian prior for smoothing maximum entropy models
, 1999
"... In certain contexts, maximum entropy (ME) modeling can be viewed as maximum likelihood training for exponential models, and like other maximum likelihood methods is prone to overfitting of training data. Several smoothing methods for maximum entropy models have been proposed to address this problem ..."
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Cited by 252 (2 self)
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In certain contexts, maximum entropy (ME) modeling can be viewed as maximum likelihood training for exponential models, and like other maximum likelihood methods is prone to overfitting of training data. Several smoothing methods for maximum entropy models have been proposed to address this problem, but previous results do not make it clear how these smoothing methods compare with smoothing methods for other types of related models. In this work, we survey previous work in maximum entropy smoothing and compare the performance of several of these algorithms with conventional techniques for smoothing ngram language models. Because of the mature body of research in ngram model smoothing and the close connection between maximum entropy and conventional ngram models, this domain is wellsuited to gauge the performance of maximum entropy smoothing methods. Over a large number of data sets, we find that an ME smoothing method proposed to us by Lafferty [1] performs as well as or better than all other algorithms under consideration. This general and efficient method involves using a Gaussian prior on the parameters of the model and selecting maximum a posteriori instead of maximum likelihood parameter values. We contrast this method with previous ngram smoothing methods to explain its superior performance.
The Power of Amnesia: Learning Probabilistic Automata with Variable Memory Length
 Machine Learning
, 1996
"... . We propose and analyze a distribution learning algorithm for variable memory length Markov processes. These processes can be described by a subclass of probabilistic finite automata which we name Probabilistic Suffix Automata (PSA). Though hardness results are known for learning distributions gene ..."
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Cited by 226 (18 self)
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. We propose and analyze a distribution learning algorithm for variable memory length Markov processes. These processes can be described by a subclass of probabilistic finite automata which we name Probabilistic Suffix Automata (PSA). Though hardness results are known for learning distributions generated by general probabilistic automata, we prove that the algorithm we present can efficiently learn distributions generated by PSAs. In particular, we show that for any target PSA, the KLdivergence between the distribution generated by the target and the distribution generated by the hypothesis the learning algorithm outputs, can be made small with high confidence in polynomial time and sample complexity. The learning algorithm is motivated by applications in humanmachine interaction. Here we present two applications of the algorithm. In the first one we apply the algorithm in order to construct a model of the English language, and use this model to correct corrupted text. In the second ...
A hierarchical Bayesian language model based on Pitman–Yor processes
 In Coling/ACL, 2006. 9
, 2006
"... We propose a new hierarchical Bayesian ngram model of natural languages. Our model makes use of a generalization of the commonly used Dirichlet distributions called PitmanYor processes which produce powerlaw distributions more closely resembling those in natural languages. We show that an approxi ..."
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Cited by 146 (10 self)
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We propose a new hierarchical Bayesian ngram model of natural languages. Our model makes use of a generalization of the commonly used Dirichlet distributions called PitmanYor processes which produce powerlaw distributions more closely resembling those in natural languages. We show that an approximation to the hierarchical PitmanYor language model recovers the exact formulation of interpolated KneserNey, one of the best smoothing methods for ngram language models. Experiments verify that our model gives cross entropy results superior to interpolated KneserNey and comparable to modified KneserNey. 1
A survey of smoothing techniques for ME models
 IEEE Transactions on Speech and Audio Processing
, 2000
"... Abstract—In certain contexts, maximum entropy (ME) modeling can be viewed as maximum likelihood (ML) training for exponential models, and like other ML methods is prone to overfitting of training data. Several smoothing methods for ME models have been proposed to address this problem, but previous ..."
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Cited by 104 (1 self)
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Abstract—In certain contexts, maximum entropy (ME) modeling can be viewed as maximum likelihood (ML) training for exponential models, and like other ML methods is prone to overfitting of training data. Several smoothing methods for ME models have been proposed to address this problem, but previous results do not make it clear how these smoothing methods compare with smoothing methods for other types of related models. In this work, we survey previous work in ME smoothing and compare the performance of several of these algorithms with conventional techniques for smoothinggram language models. Because of the mature body of research ingram model smoothing and the close connection between ME and conventionalgram models, this domain is wellsuited to gauge the performance of ME smoothing methods. Over a large number of data sets, we find that fuzzy ME smoothing performs as well as or better than all other algorithms under consideration. We contrast this method with previousgram smoothing methods to explain its superior performance. Index Terms—Exponential models, language modeling, maximum entropy, minimum divergence,gram models, smoothing.
A hierarchical dirichlet language model
 Natural Language Engineering
, 1994
"... We discuss a hierarchical probabilistic model whose predictions are similar to those of the popular language modelling procedure known as 'smoothing'. A number of interesting differences from smoothing emerge. The insights gained from a probabilistic view of this problem point towards new ..."
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Cited by 95 (3 self)
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We discuss a hierarchical probabilistic model whose predictions are similar to those of the popular language modelling procedure known as 'smoothing'. A number of interesting differences from smoothing emerge. The insights gained from a probabilistic view of this problem point towards new directions for language modelling. The ideas of this paper are also applicable to other problems such as the modelling of triphomes in speech, and DNA and protein sequences in molecular biology. The new algorithm is compared with smoothing on a two million word corpus. The methods prove to be about equally accurate, with the hierarchical model using fewer computational resources. 1
The Power of Amnesia
 Machine Learning
, 1994
"... We propose a learning algorithm for a variable memory length Markov process. Human communication, whether given as text, handwriting, or speech, has multi characteristic time scales. On short scales it is characterized mostly by the dynamics that generate the process, whereas on large scales, more s ..."
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Cited by 90 (4 self)
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We propose a learning algorithm for a variable memory length Markov process. Human communication, whether given as text, handwriting, or speech, has multi characteristic time scales. On short scales it is characterized mostly by the dynamics that generate the process, whereas on large scales, more syntactic and semantic information is carried. For that reason the conventionally used fixed memory Markov models cannot capture effectively the complexity of such structures. On the other hand using long memory models uniformly is not practical even for as short memory as four. The algorithm we propose is based on minimizing the statistical prediction error by extending the memory, or state length, adaptively, until the total prediction error is sufficiently small. We demonstrate the algorithm by learning the structure of natural English text and applying the learned model to the correction of corrupted text. Using less than 3000 states the model's performance is far superior to that of fixe...
Mixed memory Markov models: decomposing complex stochastic processes as mixtures of simpler ones
, 1998
"... . We study Markov models whose state spaces arise from the Cartesian product of two or more discrete random variables. We show how to parameterize the transition matrices of these models as a convex combinationor mixtureof simpler dynamical models. The parameters in these models admit a simple ..."
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Cited by 76 (1 self)
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. We study Markov models whose state spaces arise from the Cartesian product of two or more discrete random variables. We show how to parameterize the transition matrices of these models as a convex combinationor mixtureof simpler dynamical models. The parameters in these models admit a simple probabilistic interpretation and can be fitted iteratively by an ExpectationMaximization (EM) procedure. We derive a set of generalized BaumWelch updates for factorial hidden Markov models that make use of this parameterization. We also describe a simple iterative procedure for approximately computing the statistics of the hidden states. Throughout, we give examples where mixed memory models provide a useful representation of complex stochastic processes. Keywords: Markov models, mixture models, discrete time series 1. Introduction The modeling of time series is a fundamental problem in machine learning, with widespread applications. These include speech recognition (Rabiner, 1989), natu...
A VariableLength CategoryBased NGram Language Model
 IN PROCEEDINGS, IEEE ICASSP
, 1996
"... A language model based on wordcategory ngrams and ambiguous category membership with n increased selectively to trade compactness for performance is presented. The use of categories leads intrinsically to a compact model with the ability to generalise to unseen word sequences, and diminishes the s ..."
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Cited by 56 (6 self)
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A language model based on wordcategory ngrams and ambiguous category membership with n increased selectively to trade compactness for performance is presented. The use of categories leads intrinsically to a compact model with the ability to generalise to unseen word sequences, and diminishes the spareseness of the training data, thereby making larger n feasible. The language model implicitly involves a statistical tagging operation, which may be used explicitly to assign category assigments to untagged text. Experiments on the LOB corpus show the optimal modelbuilding strategy to yield improved results with respect to conventional ngram methods, and when used as a tagger, the model is seen to perform well in relation to a standard benchmark.