Topic modeling is a popular technique for clustering large collections of text documents. A variety of different types of regularization is implemented in topic modeling. In this paper, we propose a novel approach for analyzing the influence of different regularization types on results of topic modeling. Based on Renyi entropy, this approach is inspired by the concepts from statistical physics, where an inferred topical structure of a collection can be considered an information statistical system residing in a non-equilibrium state. By testing our approach on four models—Probabilistic Latent Semantic Analysis (pLSA), Additive Regularization of Topic Models (BigARTM), Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) with Gibbs sampling, LDA with variational inference (VLDA)—we, first of all, show that the minimum of Renyi entropy coincides with the “true” number of topics, as determined in two labelled collections. Simultaneously, we find that Hierarchical Dirichlet Process (HDP) model as a well-known approach for topic number optimization fails to detect such optimum. Next, we demonstrate that large values of the regularization coefficient in BigARTM significantly shift the minimum of entropy from the topic number optimum, which effect is not observed for hyper-parameters in LDA with Gibbs sampling. We conclude that regularization may introduce unpredictable distortions into topic models that need further research.
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