Scalable Text Classification with Sparse Generative Modeling

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Abstract

Machine learning technology faces challenges in handling “Big Data”: vast volumes of online data such as web pages, news stories and articles. A dominant solution has been parallelization, but this does not make the tasks less challenging. An alternative solution is using sparse computation methods to fundamentally change the complexity of the processing tasks themselves. This can be done by using both the sparsity found in natural data and sparsified models. In this paper we show that sparse representations can be used to reduce the time complexity of generative classifiers to build fundamentally more scalable classifiers. We reduce the time complexity of Multinomial Naive Bayes classification with sparsity and show how to extend these findings into three multi-label extensions: Binary Relevance, Label Powerset and Multi-label Mixture Models. To provide competitive performance we provide the methods with smoothing and pruning modifications and optimize model meta-parameters using direct search optimization. We report on classification experiments on 5 publicly available datasets for large-scale multi-label classification. All three methods scale easily to the largest available tasks, with training times measured in seconds and classification times in milliseconds, even with millions of training documents, features and classes. The presented sparse modeling techniques should be applicable to many other classifiers, providing the same types of fundamental complexity reductions when applied to large scale tasks.