The logistic normal distribution has recently been adapted via the transformation of multivariate Gaussian variables to model the topical distribution of documents in the presence of correlations among topics. In this paper, we propose a probit normal alternative approach to modelling correlated topical structures. Our use of the probit model in the context of topic discovery is novel, as many authors have so far concentrated solely of the logistic model partly due to the formidable inefficiency of the multinomial probit model even in the case of very small topical spaces. We herein circumvent the inefficiency of multinomial probit estimation by using an adaptation of the diagonal orthant multinomial probit in the topic models context, resulting in the ability of our topic modelling scheme to handle corpuses with a large number of latent topics. An additional and very important benefit of our method lies in the fact that unlike with the logistic normal model whose non-conjugacy leads to the need for sophisticated sampling schemes, our approach exploits the natural conjugacy inherent in the auxiliary formulation of the probit model to achieve greater simplicity. The application of our proposed scheme to a well known Associated Press corpus not only helps discover a large number of meaningful topics but also reveals the capturing of compellingly intuitive correlations among certain topics. Besides, our proposed approach lends itself to even further scalability thanks to various existing high performance algorithms and architectures capable of handling millions of documents.
Yu, Xingchen and Fokoué, Ernest, "Probit Normal Correlated Topic Models" (2014). Accessed from