Since the invention of LDA in 2002 (Blei, Ng, and Jordan), topic models have become a mainstay of digital humanities and text analytic research. However, the use of topic models remains narrowly conceived, and the method continues to raise epistemological concerns.

Join Professor Raf Alvarado (Data Science Institute) for "How to Read a Topic Model," on Friday, Nov. 3, from 1:30 to 2:30pm, in Alderman Library 317.

In this talk, Prof. Alvarado will demonstrate an interactive topic model browser designed to address one of these concerns, the problem of topic reference.Do topics refer to anything in the world, such as collective representations, or do they merely provide a convenient means of dimensionality reduction for users of large text databases? Drawing from various corpora, including online newspapers of various nationalist movements, Prof. Alvarado will present some conclusions on how to make sense of topics and how we might integrate these models into scholarly arguments.

Sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH).