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Enforced Sparse Non-Negative Matrix Factorization

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Technical Report

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MIT Lincoln Laboratory Lexington United States

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Non-negative matrix factorization NMF is a dimensionality reduction algorithm for data that can be represented as an undirected bipartite graph. It has become a common method for generating topic models of text data because it is known to produce good results, despite its relative simplicity of implementation and ease of computation. One challenge with applying the NMF to large datasets is that intermediate matrix products often become dense, thus stressing the memory and compute elements of the underlying system. In this article, we investigate a simple but powerful modification of the alternating least squares method of determining the NMF of a sparse matrix that enforces the generation of sparse intermediate and output matrices. This method enables the application of NMF to large datasets through improved memory and compute performance. Further, we demonstrate, empirically, that this method of enforcing sparsity in the NMF either preserves or improves both the accuracy of the resulting topic model and the convergence rate of the underlying algorithm.

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  • Linguistics

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