Iterative Scaling and Coordinate Descent Methods for Maximum Entropy Models

Fang-Lan Huang, Cho-Jui Hsieh, Kai-Wei Chang, Chih-Jen Lin.

Year: 2010, Volume: 11, Issue: 27, Pages: 815−848


Maximum entropy (Maxent) is useful in natural language processing and many other areas. Iterative scaling (IS) methods are one of the most popular approaches to solve Maxent. With many variants of IS methods, it is difficult to understand them and see the differences. In this paper, we create a general and unified framework for iterative scaling methods. This framework also connects iterative scaling and coordinate descent methods. We prove general convergence results for IS methods and analyze their computational complexity. Based on the proposed framework, we extend a coordinate descent method for linear SVM to Maxent. Results show that it is faster than existing iterative scaling methods.