Amazon SageMaker
Developer Guide

Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)

The Amazon SageMaker Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) algorithm is an unsupervised learning algorithm that attempts to describe a set of observations as a mixture of distinct categories. LDA is most commonly used to discover a user-specified number of topics shared by documents within a text corpus. Here each observation is a document, the features are the presence (or occurrence count) of each word, and the categories are the topics. Since the method is unsupervised, the topics are not specified up front, and are not guaranteed to align with how a human may naturally categorize documents. The topics are learned as a probability distribution over the words that occur in each document. Each document, in turn, is described as a mixture of topics.

The exact content of two documents with similar topic mixtures will not be the same. But overall, you would expect these documents to more frequently use a shared subset of words, than when compared with a document from a different topic mixture. This allows LDA to discover these word groups and use them to form topics. As an extremely simple example, given a set of documents where the only words that occur within them are: eat, sleep, play, meow, and bark, LDA might produce topics like the following:


eat sleep play meow bark
Topic 1 0.1 0.3 0.2 0.4 0.0
Topic 2 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.0 0.3

You can infer that documents that are more likely to fall into Topic 1 are about cats (who are more likely to meow and sleep), and documents that fall into Topic 2 are about dogs (who prefer to play and bark). These topics can be found even though the words dog and cat never appear in any of the texts.

Input/Output Interface

LDA expects data to be provided on the train channel, and optionally supports a test channel, which is scored by the final model. LDA supports both recordIO-wrapped-protobuf (dense and sparse) and CSV file formats. For CSV, the data must be dense and have dimension equal to number of records * vocabulary size. LDA can be trained in File or Pipe mode when using recordIO-wrapped protobuf, but only in File mode for the CSV format.

For inference, text/csv, application/json, and application/x-recordio-protobuf content types are supported. Sparse data can also be passed for application/json and application/x-recordio-protobuf. LDA inference returns application/json or application/x-recordio-protobuf predictions, which include the topic_mixture vector for each observation.

Please see the example notebooks for more detail on training and inference formats.

EC2 Instance Recommendation

LDA currently only supports single-instance CPU training. CPU instances are recommended for hosting/inference.

LDA Sample Notebooks

For a sample notebook that shows how to train the Amazon SageMaker Latent Dirichlet Allocation algorithm on a dataset and then how to deploy the trained model to perform inferences about the topic mixtures in input documents, see the An Introduction to SageMaker LDA. For instructions how to create and access Jupyter notebook instances that you can use to run the example in Amazon SageMaker, see Using Notebook Instances. Once you have created a notebook instance and opened it, select the SageMaker Examples tab to see a list of all the Amazon SageMaker samples. The topic modeling example notebooks using the NTM algorithms are located in the Introduction to Amazon algorithms section. To open a notebook, click on its Use tab and select Create copy.