Revisiting LSTM Networks for Semi-Supervised Text Classification via Mixed Objective Function

  • Devendra Singh Sachan Petuum
  • Manzil Zaheer Carnegie Mellon University
  • Ruslan Salakhutdinov Carnegie Mellon University


In this paper, we study bidirectional LSTM network for the task of text classification using both supervised and semisupervised approaches. Several prior works have suggested that either complex pretraining schemes using unsupervised methods such as language modeling (Dai and Le 2015; Miyato, Dai, and Goodfellow 2016) or complicated models (Johnson and Zhang 2017) are necessary to achieve a high classification accuracy. However, we develop a training strategy that allows even a simple BiLSTM model, when trained with cross-entropy loss, to achieve competitive results compared with more complex approaches. Furthermore, in addition to cross-entropy loss, by using a combination of entropy minimization, adversarial, and virtual adversarial losses for both labeled and unlabeled data, we report state-of-theart results for text classification task on several benchmark datasets. In particular, on the ACL-IMDB sentiment analysis and AG-News topic classification datasets, our method outperforms current approaches by a substantial margin. We also show the generality of the mixed objective function by improving the performance on relation extraction task.1

AAAI Technical Track: Natural Language Processing