Topic modeling for OLAP on multidimensional text databases: Topic cube and its applications

Duo Zhang, Cheng Xiang Zhai, Jiawei Han, Ashok Srivastava, Nikunj Oza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the amount of textual information grows explosively in various kinds of business systems, it becomes more and more desirable to analyze both structured data records and unstructured text data simultaneously. Although online analytical processing (OLAP) techniques have been proven very useful for analyzing and mining structured data, they face challenges in handling text data. On the other hand, probabilistic topic models are among the most effective approaches to latent topic analysis and mining on text data. In this paper, we study a new data model called topic cube to combine OLAP with probabilistic topic modeling and enable OLAP on the dimension of text data in a multidimensional text database. Topic cube extends the traditional data cube to cope with a topic hierarchy and stores probabilistic content measures of text documents learned through a probabilistic topic model. To materialize topic cubes efficiently, we propose two heuristic aggregations to speed up the iterative Expectation-Maximization (EM) algorithm for estimating topic models by leveraging the models learned on component data cells to choose a good starting point for iteration. Experimental results show that these heuristic aggregations are much faster than the baseline method of computing each topic cube from scratch. We also discuss some potential uses of topic cube and show sample experimental results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-395
Number of pages18
JournalStatistical Analysis and Data Mining
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - 2009


  • Multidimensional text database
  • Text OLAP
  • Topic cube

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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