, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 249-264
Date: 14 Jan 2006

Email Surveillance Using Non-negative Matrix Factorization

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


In this study, we apply a non-negative matrix factorization approach for the extraction and detection of concepts or topics from electronic mail messages. For the publicly released Enron electronic mail collection, we encode sparse term-by-message matrices and use a low rank non-negative matrix factorization algorithm to preserve natural data non-negativity and avoid subtractive basis vector and encoding interactions present in techniques such as principal component analysis. Results in topic detection and message clustering are discussed in the context of published Enron business practices and activities, and benchmarks addressing the computational complexity of our approach are provided. The resulting basis vectors and matrix projections of this approach can be used to identify and monitor underlying semantic features (topics) and message clusters in a general or high-level way without the need to read individual electronic mail messages.

Michael W. Berry is a Professor and Interim Department Head in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Tennessee and a faculty member in the Graduate School in Genome Science and Technology Program at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. His research interests include information retrieval, data mining, scientific computing, computational science, and numerical linear algebra. He is a member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics (IEEE). Professor Berry is on the editorial boards of “Computing in Science and Engineering” (IEEE Computer Society and the American Institute of Physics) and the SIAM Journal of Scientific Computing.
Murray Browne is a Research Associate in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Tennessee. He is a member of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and has published numerous essays, book reviews, newspaper articles, and feature stories.