Avery Hiebert


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Interpreting Word-Level Hidden State Behaviour of Character-Level LSTM Language Models
Avery Hiebert | Cole Peterson | Alona Fyshe | Nishant Mehta
Proceedings of the 2018 EMNLP Workshop BlackboxNLP: Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

While Long Short-Term Memory networks (LSTMs) and other forms of recurrent neural network have been successfully applied to language modeling on a character level, the hidden state dynamics of these models can be difficult to interpret. We investigate the hidden states of such a model by using the HDBSCAN clustering algorithm to identify points in the text at which the hidden state is similar. Focusing on whitespace characters prior to the beginning of a word reveals interpretable clusters that offer insight into how the LSTM may combine contextual and character-level information to identify parts of speech. We also introduce a method for deriving word vectors from the hidden state representation in order to investigate the word-level knowledge of the model. These word vectors encode meaningful semantic information even for words that appear only once in the training text.