Supervised topic modeling using hierarchical dirichlet process-based inverse regression: Experiments on e-commerce applications

Weifeng Li, Junming Yin, Hsinchsun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The proliferation of e-commerce calls for mining consumer preferences and opinions from user-generated text. To this end, topic models have been widely adopted to discover the underlying semantic themes (i.e., topics). Supervised topic models have emerged to leverage discovered topics for predicting the response of interest (e.g., product quality and sales). However, supervised topic modeling remains a challenging problem because of the need to prespecify the number of topics, the lack of predictive information in topics, and limited scalability. In this paper, we propose a novel supervised topic model, Hierarchical Dirichlet Process-based Inverse Regression (HDP-IR). HDP-IR characterizes the corpus with a flexible number of topics, which prove to retain as much predictive information as the original corpus. Moreover, we develop an efficient inference algorithm capable of examining large-scale corpora (millions of documents or more). Three experiments were conducted to evaluate the predictive performance over major e-commerce benchmark testbeds of online reviews. Overall, HDP-IR outperformed existing state-of-The-Art supervised topic models. Particularly, retaining sufficient predictive information improved predictive R-squared by over 17.6 percent; having topic structure flexibility contributed to predictive R-squared by at least 4.1 percent. HDP-IR provides an important step for future study on user-generated texts from a topic perspective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1205
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Knowledge and Data Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Bayesian nonparametrics
  • Hierarchical dirichlet process
  • Sufficient dimension reduction
  • Topic modeling
  • Variational inference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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