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We address the problem of learning topic hierarchies from data. The model selection problem in this domain is daunting—which of the large collection of possible trees to use? We take a Bayesian approach, generating an appropriate prior via a distribution on partitions that we refer to as the nested Chinese restaurant process. This nonparametric prior allows(More)
Processing language requires the retrieval of concepts from memory in response to an ongoing stream of information. This retrieval is facilitated if one can infer the gist of a sentence, conversation, or document and use that gist to predict related concepts and disambiguate words. This article analyzes the abstract computational problem underlying the(More)
Relationships between concepts account for a large proportion of semantic knowledge. We present a nonpara-metric Bayesian model that discovers systems of related concepts. Given data involving several sets of entities, our model discovers the kinds of entities in each set and the relations between kinds that are possible or likely. We apply our approach to(More)
Perceptual systems routinely separate "content" from "style," classifying familiar words spoken in an unfamiliar accent, identifying a font or handwriting style across letters, or recognizing a familiar face or object seen under unfamiliar viewing conditions. Yet a general and tractable computational model of this ability to untangle the underlying factors(More)
The authors present a Bayesian framework for understanding how adults and children learn the meanings of words. The theory explains how learners can generalize meaningfully from just one or a few positive examples of a novel word's referents, by making rational inductive inferences that integrate prior knowledge about plausible word meanings with the(More)
We present a framework for the rational analysis of elemental causal induction-learning about the existence of a relationship between a single cause and effect-based upon causal graphical models. This framework makes precise the distinction between causal structure and causal strength: the difference between asking whether a causal relationship exists and(More)
Formal languages for probabilistic modeling enable re-use, modularity, and descriptive clarity, and can foster generic inference techniques. We introduce Church, a universal language for describing stochastic generative processes. Church is based on the Lisp model of lambda calculus, containing a pure Lisp as its deterministic subset. The semantics of(More)
Statistical approaches to language learning typically focus on either short-range syntactic dependencies or long-range semantic dependencies between words. We present a generative model that uses both kinds of dependencies, and can be used to simultaneously find syntactic classes and semantic topics despite having no representation of syntax or semantics(More)
Recently proposed algorithms for nonlinear dimensionality reduction fall broadly into two categories which have different advantages and disadvantages: global (Isomap [1,2]), and local (Locally Linear Embedding [3], Laplacian Eigenmaps [4]). In this paper we describe variants of the Isomap algorithm which overcome two of the apparent disadvantages of the(More)
Perceptual events derive their significance to an animal from their meaning about the world, that is from the information they carry about their causes. The brain should thus be able to efficiently infer the causes underlying our sensory events. Here we use multisensory cue combination to study causal inference in perception. We formulate an ideal-observer(More)