AAAI Publications, Thirtieth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Font Size: 
Generalised Brown Clustering and Roll-Up Feature Generation
Leon Derczynski, Sean Chester

Last modified: 2016-02-21


Brown clustering is an established technique, used in hundreds of computational linguistics papers each year, to group word types that have similar distributional information. It is unsupervised and can be used to create powerful word representations for machine learning. Despite its improbable success relative to more complex methods, few have investigated whether Brown clustering has really been applied optimally. In this paper, we present a subtle but profound generalisation of Brown clustering to improve the overall quality by decoupling the number of output classes from the computational active set size. Moreover, the generalisation permits a novel approach to feature selection from Brown clusters: We show that the standard approach of shearing the Brown clustering output tree at arbitrary bitlengths is lossy and that features should be chosen insead by rolling up Generalised Brown hierarchies. The generalisation and corresponding feature generation is more principled, challenging the way Brown clustering is currently understood and applied.


hierarchical clustering; unsupervised learning; word representations; natural language processing

Full Text: PDF