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Patent Analysis of

Method and system for performing topic creation for social data

Updated Time 12 June 2019

Patent Registration Data

Publication Number

US10002187

Application Number

US14/555042

Application Date

26 November 2014

Publication Date

19 June 2018

Current Assignee

ORACLE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION

Original Assignee (Applicant)

ORACLE INTERNATIONAL CORPORATION

International Classification

G06F17/30

Cooperative Classification

G06F17/30705,G06F17/30648,G06F17/30675,G06F16/35,G06F16/3326

Inventor

MCCANDLESS, TIMOTHY P.,SETAYESH, MEHRSHAD

Patent Images

This patent contains figures and images illustrating the invention and its embodiment.

US10002187 Method performing 1 US10002187 Method performing 2 US10002187 Method performing 3
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Abstract

Disclosed is a system, method, and computer program product for performing theme analysis and creating topics with regards to social data. A user interface is provided that allows the user to view and interact with to view and control the process/mechanism or creating topics. The topic creation process can be facilitated and automated using a volatility index.

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Claims

1. A method implemented with a processor, comprising:generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:(a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,(b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and(c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface;receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for the new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the search criteria comprises a search term.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein the semantic filter comprises a filter to at least include themes more like a selected theme or to exclude themes less like the selected theme.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the first interface portion further comprises a sorted list comprising the one or more analysis results such that an analysis result corresponding to the largest number of items is placed at a top of the sorted list, the analysis result comprising a numerical value identifying a number of items that pertain to a search term, the individual analysis result that is selected being visually differentiated from the one or more analysis results.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the one or more sources comprise social media sources.

6. The method of claim 1, wherein the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

7. The method of claim 1, wherein snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the snippets comprise a set of terms on either side of an occurrence of a word of interest within the content.

9. The method of claim 7, wherein at least some of the snippets comprise a sentence or paragraph boundary.

10. The method of claim 7, wherein the individual analysis result comprises a set of the snippets having vector values that are clustered together.

11. The method of claim 1, in which the volatility index is displayable in an interface.

12. The method of claim 1, wherein the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.

13. A computer readable medium having stored thereon a sequence of instructions which, when executed by a processor causes the processor to execute a method comprising:generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:(a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,(b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and(c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface;receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for a new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

14. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the search criteria comprises a search term.

15. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the semantic filter comprises a filter to include themes more like selected theme.

16. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the semantic filter comprises a filter to exclude themes less like selected theme.

17. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the one or more sources comprise social media sources.

18. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

19. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.

20. The computer readable medium of claim 19, wherein the snippets comprise a set of terms on either side of an occurrence of a word of interest within the content.

21. The computer readable medium of claim 19, wherein at least some of the snippets comprise a sentence or paragraph boundary.

22. The computer readable medium of claim 19, wherein the individual analysis result comprises a set of the snippets having vector values that are clustered together.

23. The computer readable medium of claim 13, in which the volatility index is displayable in an interface.

24. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.

25. A system, comprising: a processor; a storage device to hold content from one or more sources;a memory comprising computer code executed using the processor, in which the computer code implements: generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:(a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,(b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and(c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface; receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for a new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

26. The system of claim 25, wherein the search criteria comprises a search term.

27. The system of claim 25, wherein the semantic filter comprises a filter to include themes more like selected theme.

28. The system of claim 25, wherein the semantic filter comprises a filter to exclude themes less like selected theme.

29. The system of claim 25, wherein the one or more sources comprise social media sources.

30. The system of claim 25, wherein the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.

31. The system of claim 25, wherein snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.

32. The system of claim 31, wherein the snippets comprise a set of terms on either side of an occurrence of a word of interest within the content.

33. The system of claim 31, wherein at least some of the snippets comprise a sentence or paragraph boundary.

34. The system of claim 31, wherein the individual analysis result comprises a set of the snippets having vector values that are clustered together.

35. The system of claim 25, in which the volatility index is displayable in an interface.

36. The system of claim 25, wherein the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.

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Claim Tree

  • 1
    1. A method implemented with a processor, comprising:generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:
    • (a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,
    • (b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and
    • (c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface;receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for the new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 2. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the search criteria comprises
    • 3. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the semantic filter comprises
    • 4. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the first interface portion further comprises
    • 5. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the one or more sources comprise
    • 6. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 7. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.
    • 11. The method of claim 1, in which
      • the volatility index is displayable in an interface.
    • 12. The method of claim 1, wherein
      • the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.
  • 13
    13. A computer readable medium having stored thereon a sequence of instructions which, when executed by a processor causes the processor to execute a method comprising:generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:
    • (a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,
    • (b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and
    • (c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface;receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for a new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 14. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the search criteria comprises
    • 15. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the semantic filter comprises
    • 16. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the semantic filter comprises
    • 17. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the one or more sources comprise
    • 18. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 19. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.
    • 23. The computer readable medium of claim 13, in which
      • the volatility index is displayable in an interface.
    • 24. The computer readable medium of claim 13, wherein
      • the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.
  • 25
    25. A system, comprising: a processor; a storage device to hold content from one or more sources;a memory comprising computer code executed using the processor, in which the computer code implements: generating a user interface that displays analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, the user interface comprising:
    • (a) a first interface portion of the user interface comprising a list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources, an individual analysis result from among the one or more analysis results being selectable to display a set of terms associated with a selected individual analysis result in a second interface portion,
    • (b) the second interface portion of the user interface comprising the set of terms, a first interface control, and a second interface control, the set of terms associated with the selected individual analysis result, the first interface control constraining a search to include themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, the second interface control constraining the search to exclude the themes that correspond to the selected individual analysis result, and
    • (c) a third interface portion of the user interface comprising a set of one or more semantic filters selected according to the second interface portion; receiving a search criteria to perform a search of content from the one or more social media data sources; performing the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources to generate the list of the one or more analysis results, a volatility index corresponding to a level of commonality between two or more themes being generated for the one or more analysis results, the volatility index usable to automatically control creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index, the level of commonality between the two or more themes is calculated by computing centroids for the two or more themes and determining distances between the centroids; displaying the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources pertaining to the search criteria in the first interface portion of the user interface; receiving a selection of the first or second interface control in the second interface portion of the user interface corresponding to an application of a semantic filter, the semantic filter constraining the search of the content from the one or more social media data sources by:(a) adding the semantic filter to definition parameters for a new topic if the first interface control is selected;(b) adding the semantic filter to the set of one or more semantic filters in the third interface portion of the user interface if the second interface control is selected; and(c) performing a modified search of the content with application of the semantic filter, the modified search updating the list of one or more analysis results identified from within one or more social media data sources in the first interface portion of the user interface to either remove or add results in the first interface portion that pertain to the semantic filter; and creating the new topic based at least in part on the definition parameters, wherein the new topic corresponds to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 26. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the search criteria comprises
    • 27. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the semantic filter comprises
    • 28. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the semantic filter comprises
    • 29. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the one or more sources comprise
    • 30. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the new topic is stored as a vector value corresponding to the search criteria and the semantic filter.
    • 31. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • snippets are obtained from the content, and the snippets are analyzed to generate search results.
    • 35. The system of claim 25, in which
      • the volatility index is displayable in an interface.
    • 36. The system of claim 25, wherein
      • the individual analysis result corresponds to a central or pertinent idea of some or all of a content item.
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Description

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY

Given the widespread availability and usage of the internet by consumers, many businesses have become interested in being able to effectively monitor the content and commentary provided by such consumers. Interactive websites such as social networks and blogs provide a wealth of useful information that can be advantageously used by a business.

It is possible to monitor the content of social media sites to identify the ranges of topics that are being commented about by users on the sites. By knowing about and understanding these topics, many businesses can then act upon that information to increase sales and revenue. It would be very desirable to allow the businesses to stay informed of actionable social networking content, for example, to identify potential customers and possible sales leads or to identify problematic situations that may require immediate involvement of customer service personnel.

For example, consider a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) application, which is designed to facilitate the ability of a business to create, develop, and build relationships with its customers or potential customers. It would be very desirable to allow the business CRM application to stay informed of actionable social networking content, for example, to identify potential customers and possible sales leads.

As another example, brand managers are often interested in monitoring commentary on the internet regarding their brands or competitors' brands. Brand managers may read the commentary to gauge interest in their marketing materials, receive feedback regarding their products, or take further action regarding any postings that warrant some type of follow-up response.

Embodiments of the present invention provide a system, method, and computer program product for allowing an entity to access social media data, and to perform theme analysis upon that data to identify and create topics with regards to that data. The invention is capable of accessing data across multiple types of internet-based sources of social data and commentary. A user interface is provided that allows the user to view and interact with data and control the process/mechanism for creating topics. The topic creation process can be facilitated and automated using a volatility index.

Other additional objects, features, and advantages of the invention are described in the detailed description, figures, and claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows an example interface for performing topic creation.

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart of an approach to perform topic creation according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 3 illustrates a system to implement topic creation.

FIG. 4 illustrates a topic creation mechanism and flow according to embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 5 shows a detailed flowchart of an approach to perform topic creation according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 6A illustrates a system that performs topic creation and message categorization.

FIG. 6B illustrates an architecture for performing message categorization.

FIG. 7 illustrates a flowchart of an approach for performing message categorization.

FIG. 8 shows a flowchart of an approach to create a semantic space according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 9 shows a flowchart of an approach to use a volatility index according to some embodiments of the invention.

FIG. 10 depicts a computerized system on which an embodiment of the invention can be implemented.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present disclosure is directed to an approach for performing topic creation for social data. This type of analysis can be used to more accurately and comprehensively understand the significance of data retrieved and reviewed from various sources, by identifying and creating topics pertaining to that data.

To explain, consider if it is desired to perform analysis upon data from one or more social media sites to identify topics within that data. The analysis may be performed for any suitable purpose. For example, consider the situation where a marketer wishes to identify social media content pertaining to a given subject matter. Given the wide range of terms, terminology and word usage choices by users of social media systems, it is often very difficult for conventional technologies to automate the process of identifying the subject matter that is actually being addressed by any given social media message or posting.

To address this and other problems, the present invention provides a mechanism for allowing “topics” to be created, which provides an approach to capture the scope of a given set of subject matter. The topic definitions can then be used, for example, to automatically classify social data, e.g., by determining whether a given social media message/post falls within the topic definition.

FIG. 1 illustrates an example interface 10 for performing topic creation according to some embodiments of the invention. Field 12 is a portion of interface 10 that allows the user to provide an identifier for a new topic.

Search criteria can be provided through interface 10 to perform a search of content from one or more sources. For example, field 14 permits the user to provide one or more search terms that can be used as part of the search for a matching set of results from within a database of social data. The data may comprise a selected amount of data from over a given time period, e.g., containing a rolling window having three months of collected data/messages from one or more social media sources.

Based at least in part upon performing semantic analysis, themes are identified within the social data using the search term from field 14, to identify the central or pertinent idea of some or all of an item of content that is analyzed. Themes can be identified, for example, by performing semantic analysis and identifying semantic clusters within the analyzed data. The semantic clusters correspond to themes within the social media data. For example, latent semantic analysis (LSA), an advanced form of statistical language modeling, can be used to perform semantic analysis upon the content. This permits the system to understand the contextual and semantic significance of terms that appear within the social data. For example semantic analysis can be used to understand the difference between the term “Galaxy” used in the astronomy content and the same term “Galaxy” that is used to refer to the name of a professional soccer team, and to them determine whether these terms correspond to the theme for an item of content.

Portion 16 of the interface 10 provides a listing of the themes identified from within the social data that pertain to the search term. Each of the identified themes has a theme identifier, along with a numerical value identifying the number of messages/items that pertain to the search term. The listing of the themes can be presented as a sorted list, where the themes having the largest number of messages/items are placed at the top of the list.

The interface permits a user to select a theme to review additional information about that theme. For example, portion 18 shows a highlighted theme, where selection of this theme by the user (e.g., by having the user move a mouse interface over these theme) causes portion 30 to display additional content/information/terms from messages/items that correspond to that theme. The user can review that displayed information to determine if that identified theme is really of interest to the user.

To explain, consider if themes are identified when the search term is “Galaxy”. Assume that semantic analysis is performed such that multiple themes are identified pertaining to that search term. In particular, a first possible theme may pertain to the term “Galaxy” used in the astronomy content, a second possible theme may pertain to a professional soccer team, and a third possible theme may pertain to a popular model of a mobile telephone.

In this example, each of these themes would be identified in a list in portion 16 of the interface 10. Furthermore, each of these themes can be reviewed by selecting a given theme (e.g., as shown with the highlighting of portion 18). Once selected, portion 30 would display a sample of the terms/contexts associated with that theme. With the information displayed in portion 30, the user can decide which of the identified themes, if any, correspond to a topic of interest to the user.

Selection buttons 26 and 28 are provided to allow a user to indicate which of the themes are or are not pertinent to a topic of interest. Button 28 (e.g., a “More Like This” button) is used to identify a theme that is identifiable as pertinent to the topic of interest. In contrast, button 26 (e.g., a “Less Like This” button) is used to identify a theme that is identifiable as not being pertinent to the topic of interest.

Selection of button 28 will create a semantic filter that constrains the search process to identify and display themes that more correspond to the selected “More Like This” theme. On the other hand, selection of button 26 will create a semantic filter that constrains the search process to eliminate from the search results any themes that correspond to the selected “Less Like This” theme. Application of a new semantic filter will cause a new search result to be produced and displayed in portion 16 of the interface.

Each time the user makes a new “More Like This” or “Less Like This” selection, the topic definition for the new topic is adjusted accordingly to include a new corresponding semantic filter. Interface portion 20 displays the current state of the topic definition parameters for the new topic. Interface sub-portion 22 identifies the search term(s) for the new topic. Interface sub-portion 24 identifies the semantic filters that have been created for the topic.

The user may undergo multiple iterations of the process to view search results, where the search results are adjusted by selecting one or more themes for which a semantic filter is to be created. After some period of time, the application of the appropriate semantic filters should provide an acceptable definition of a new topic which addresses the subject matter of interest to the user, while filtering out subject matter that do not pertain to the subject matter of interest. This can be accomplished, for example, when the combination of the selected filters causes all and/or most of the themes identified in interface portion 16 to generally correspond to the subject matter of interest. At that point, the topic definition can be saved to create the new topic.

FIG. 2 shows a flowchart of a process to create a new topic using a user interface, e.g., as shown in FIG. 1. A two stage process is performed, whereby a first stage includes a keyword search using a search term. The second stage is performed by using semantic analysis upon the search results. The second stage can therefore be used to disambiguate the search terms/keywords from the search results, e.g., for themes that are not of interest to the user.

At 202, one or more search terms are received from the user. At 204, the collected social data is searched using the search term. In one embodiment, an exact keyword match is performed at 204. Alternatively, variants of the search term can be applied to generate search results.

At 206, semantic analysis is performed to identify a set of themes to the user. In some embodiments, latent semantic analysis is performed to identify the themes. A sorted listing of the themes is presented to the user in the user interface. Controls are also provided to the user to permit selection of one or more themes to establish a new semantic filter for the topic. Such control include, for example, the pertinent interface elements shown in FIG. 1 to select “More Like This” and “Less Like This” themes, which cause corresponding semantic filters to be created for the selected themes.

At 208, the interface waits for new user inputs. For example, at 210, the user interface may receive an input that selects a given theme from the listing of themes in the search results. This causes, at 212, a portion of the interface to display additional information about the selected theme. The displayed information about the selected theme should provide enough context for the user to determine whether the identified theme either does or does not pertain to the subject matter of interest to the user.

If the identified theme is of particular relevance to the subject of interest to the user, then at 220, the user can provide an input to the interface that makes this known to the system. This results, at 222, in the addition of a new semantic filter to the current definition parameters for the new topic. In addition, at 224, the new semantic filter will cause a new search to be performed over the data, with the updated search results presented to the user in the user interface.

On the other hand, if the identified theme is deemed to be of very little relevance to the subject of interest to the user, then at 230, the user can provide an input to the interface that makes this known to the system. At 232, this results in the addition of a new semantic filter, which constrains the search results to not include content pertaining to the selected theme. At 224, the new semantic filter will cause a new search to be performed over the data, with the updated search results presented to the user in the user interface.

The user may undergo multiple iterations of the above steps to add (and/or remove) the semantic filters, where application of the semantic filters should provide a listing of themes shown in the user interface to generally correspond to the subject matter of interest to the user.

Once the user is satisfied with the current definition of the new topic, then at 240, the user may provide an input to the user interface to save the new topic. The topic parameters (e.g., search term(s) and semantic filter(s)) should include an acceptable definition of a new topic which addresses the subject matter of interest to the user, while filtering out subject matter that does not pertain to the subject matter of interest. At that point, at 242, the topic definition can be saved in a configuration database to create the new topic.

FIG. 3 illustrates an example system 100 which may be employed in some embodiments of the invention to implement topic creation. The system includes one or more users at one or more user stations 102 that operate the system. The user station 102 comprises any type of computing station that may be used to operate or interface with the applications in the system. Examples of such user stations 102 include, for example, workstations, personal computers, or remote computing terminals. The user station 102 comprises a display device, such as a display monitor, for displaying a user interface to users at the user station. The user station 102 also comprises one or more input devices for the user to provide operational control over the activities of the system 100, such as a mouse or keyboard to manipulate a pointing object in a graphical user interface to generate user inputs. The semantic technology server 108 may include a user interface mechanism to generate a user interface that is displayed to the user on a display device. The user interface may be embodied, for example, as the interface shown in FIG. 1.

A semantic technology server 108 receives data from one or more online social data sources 104. Such social data sources 104 include, for example, websites such as a social network, blog or web feed (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and RSS). The content may include one or more comments (e.g., Facebook comment, comment to a blog post, reply to a previous comment) or uploaded postings (e.g., images and associated metadata, text, rich media, URLs) at one or more sources. The social data/content may therefore comprise a variety of forms and/or types. It is noted that while the currently described embodiment describes analysis of social data, the inventive concepts are applicable to analysis of other types of content as well.

Semantic analysis is performed upon the social media data by the semantic technology server 108. The semantic technology server 108 may be implemented as a standalone semantic analysis tool, or can be included as a component within another tool, e.g., a social relationship management tool.

In some embodiments, the semantic technology server 108 comprises a topic creation engine 124 to create topics with respect to the social media data. The topic creation engine 124 processes the social data using semantic analysis to identify themes within the data. The identified themes are used to create definition parameters for a new topic, e.g., by adding semantic filters that pertain to the identified themes. In operation, the topic creation engine 124 may access a semantic space 136 to perform the themes analysis, as described in more detail below. The topics definitions created using the topic creation engine 124 may be stored in a configuration database 134.

A user interface component 120 generates the content that is visually displayed to a user at user station 102. This content includes, for example, the interface elements shown in FIG. 1. The user interface component 120 may also be used to retrieve user inputs through the user interface to control the operations of the topic creation engine 124.

The configuration database 134, semantic space 136, and/or analysis results can be stored in a computer readable storage device 110. The computer readable storage device 110 comprises any combination of hardware and software that allows for ready access to the data that is located at the computer readable storage device. For example, the computer readable storage device 110 could be implemented as computer memory operatively managed by an operating system. The computer readable storage device could also be implemented as an electronic database system having storage on persistent and/or non-persistent storage.

FIG. 4 illustrates an example architecture that can be used to perform topic creation according to some embodiments of the invention. A topic creation mechanism/application 424 is used by a user 402 to create the new topic. The topic creation mechanism/application comprises any combination of hardware/software that is configured and/or programmed to perform the actions specified herein. New topics created by the topic creation mechanism/application 424 can be stored into a configuration database 434.

The topic creation mechanisms/application 424 interfaces with a categorization, snippetization, and theming service 444. The service 444 provides functionality to perform categorization of a given set of content using semantic analysis. The analysis may be provided over the full content of a data item, or may instead be applied to a “snippet” from the data comprising a more targeted subset of the data. Theme identification of the data may also be performed by service 444. While these functions are described in conjunction with a single service 444 in the figure, it is noted that any number and/or combination of one or more components/services may be utilized in practice to accomplish the described functions.

The service 444 may access a sample corpus 438 to perform its functions. The sample corpus comprises a collected set of data from which the desired analysis is to be performed. In some embodiments, the sample corpus 438 comprises a rolling three month window of data collected from one or more social network sites.

A semantic space 436 is accessed to perform semantic analysis upon data from the sample corpus 438. The semantic space 436 comprises a collection of vector values for a number of dimensions that are identifiable for terms within the social data to be analyzed. These vector values are usable to understand the actual meaning of terms when used in different contexts. Mathematical computation and comparison of the term vectors allows one to determine the underlying meaning of various themes and documents.

FIG. 5 shows a flowchart describing how the architecture of FIG. 4 is usable to perform topic creation. At 501, the user submits an initial search term from the user interface to the topic creation mechanism/application 424.

Next, at 502, the topic creation mechanism/application 424 sends a request for a random set of themed messages to the service 444. The request is for a random set of the data. The general idea is that, instead of performing analysis upon the entirety of the data, the analysis can be performed for a selected sampling of the data. Assuming that the samples are properly extracted from the underlying content with adequate randomness, the sampled data should provide a reasonably representative sample of data for the analysis. For example, a sample size of 500-1000 can be retrieved in some embodiments to perform the sampling. In an alternative embodiment, sampling is not employed—this approach analyzes all of the underlying content.

At 503, the service 444 accesses the sample corpus 438 to obtain a random selection of messages using the initial search term. The selection may be performed by using the search term to perform a keyword/Boolean query against the data within the sample corpus 438.

At 504, a random sample of messages is returned to the service 444. Next, at 505, the random sample of messages is snippetized into “snippets”. The snippet may not be the entirety of the message content. Instead, the snippet may only contain a given number of words on either side of the occurrence of the word/topic of interest (“anchor term”) within the content. For example, if the search term of interest is “Galaxy”, then snippets can be created that extend 200 words in either direction from any suitable occurrence of that word within the message content. Grammatical boundaries may also be used to define the extent of a snippet, e.g., by using sentence or paragraph boundaries (e.g., the beginning or end of a sentence/paragraph) to adjust the cut-off point for a snippet.

One reason for using snippets instead of the entire message content is because this approach may provide a much more accurate assessment of the meaning/context or a document. For example, consider if the search term is the term “galaxy”, where only a very small portion of the message actually pertains to that term. If a snippet is identified which is centered around that term, and only that snippet of the message is semantically analyzed, then it is likely that the semantic analysis will produce a relatively accurate semantic understanding for how that term is used in the message. On the other hand, if the entirety of the message is semantically analyzed instead, and the vast majority of the message is focused on a different subject matter from that term “galaxy”, then it is possible that the semantic meaning of how the term is used may be obscured by the overwhelming weight of the rest of the message which has no pertinence to that term.

At 506, the snippets that correspond to the random sample of messages are vectorized using the semantic space 436. The semantic vectors are created across a number of dimensions for the term vectors (e.g., across 300 dimensions). The vectorization is performed for all of the words within the snippets. In other words, a vector is obtained for each word in the snippet. The vectors for a given snippet are averaged together to obtain a single, overall vector for the snippet. This provides a mathematical value for the context/meaning of that snippet.

At 507, snippets are clustered together, where vector comparisons are performed so that snippets having similar vectors are clustered together. Clustering may be performed, for example, by using the KMeans++ approach to clustering.

A given cluster of vectors corresponds to a single theme. Therefore, at 508, the clustered snippets are returned as themes. At 510, the themes are displayed to the user in a user interface. The user interface includes interface elements to permit the user to select one or more of the themes to create semantic filters.

At 511, a determination is made whether the user has selected any of the themes for a new semantic filter. For example, a determination is made whether the user has selected a “More Like This” or “Less Like This” button for a given theme. If so, then at 512, a new semantic filter is created. The actions starting from 502 are repeated to obtain a new set of search results that takes account of the new semantic filter.

At 513, a determination if made whether the user desires to save the new topic. If not, then the topic vector is discarded at 515. If so, then the topic vector is saved at 514. In one embodiment, the average vector(s) of the selected themes form the value that corresponds to a topic vector that is saved for the new topic. This topic vector is then saved into the configuration database 434.

As noted above, multiple iterations of the steps to configure the semantic filters may be needed to arrive at an acceptable definition for creating a topic. The topic parameters (e.g., search term(s) and semantic filter(s)) should have been configured to include an acceptable definition of a new topic which addresses the subject matter of interest to the user, while filtering out subject matter that does not pertain to the subject matter of interest.

The issue that may be faced is that a user may not necessarily know when enough semantic filters have been added to adequately configure the scope of the new topic. Without knowing when to stop, the user may end up with either too many or too few semantic filters, both of which are problematic. In the situation of too few semantic filters, the created topic may inadvertently include too much content that is irrelevant to the subject matter of interest to the user. In the situation of too many semantic filters, the application of excessive filters may cause the processing system to incur a greater cost in terms of time and computing resources to perform its processing, and may end up with search results that excessively cull away highly material content that the user would otherwise wish to include within the topic.

To address this issue, some embodiments of the invention make use of a volatility index to determine when enough semantic filters have been added to the definition of a new topic. The volatility index provides a measure to quantify how much commonality and/or difference exists between the themes that are provided in the search/analysis results in response to the search terms and the semantic filters.

FIG. 9 shows a flowchart of an approach to use a volatility index according to some embodiments of the invention. At 902, a threshold is set for the volatility index, where the threshold indicates an acceptable degree/level of volatility for the topic.

At 904, input is received to add a semantic filter for topic creation. The semantic filter may be either a positive filter or a negative filter, corresponding to a “More Like This” filter to include additional similar themes or a “Less Like This” filter to prevent the inclusion of certain similar themes. At 906, new search results are generated in response to the new semantic filter. The new search results include a new set of displayed themes to the user.

At 908, a volatility index is generated for the search results. To perform this action, a centroid (center of mass) is computed for the vector values for the content that is associated with each theme. If snippetization is employed, then the centroid would be calculated for the set of snippets that correspond to a given theme. The centroid values for the collection of themes that are produced from performing a search are analyzed to determine how close the collected centroids for the various themes are to one another. Greater levels of variances (e.g., larger distances) between the centroids correspond to a higher volatility index value, whereas lowers levels of variances (e.g., smaller distances) between the centroids corresponds to a lower volatility index value.

At 910, a determination is made whether the volatility index is at or above the threshold. If the volatility index value is above the threshold, then from 912, the process returns back to 904 add one or more additional semantic filters.

At the beginning of the iterative process, it is likely that there will be numerous themes that differ quite a bit from one another, causing the volatility index to indicate a high degree of volatility. However, as the user iteratively add new semantic filters, it is likely that the volatility index value will over time indicate a smaller degree of volatility.

Once the volatility index falls below the designated threshold, then the user should have confidence that the topic has been configured to include enough semantic filters to provide an acceptable scope of definition for the topic, which captures the subject matter of interest to the user while filtering out subject matter that do not pertain to the subject matter of interest. The topic can thereafter be saved at 914.

The volatility index can be used in numerous ways. One possible approach is to provide an interface that visually displays the volatility index to the user. With this approach, the user can visually detect the moment when the topic definition has reached an acceptable volatility level. The interface can be configured such that the user manually saves the topic when an acceptable volatility level is reached. In an alternative approach, the process is automated such that the topic is automatically saved once an acceptable volatility threshold has been reached. The approach therefore automatically controls creation of a new topic based at least in part upon a threshold value established for the volatility index.

The topic creation process can be used for numerous advantageous purposes. For example, the created topics can be used to identify content from various social media sources that pertain to the created topic. This is useful, for example, to identify user themes are emerge from the social data and which can be used to “bucketize” conversations around the created topic.

FIG. 6A illustrates an example system that performs topic creation and message categorization. As discussed above, a topic creation mechanism 602 can be used to create a new topic, which is saved into the configuration database 434. A message categorization mechanism 604 accesses the topic vectors for the created topics, and uses the topic vectors to identify topics within data from social media sources. The categorized messages are then passed to one or more downstream systems.

Co-pending U.S. application Ser. No. 14/021,820, filed on Sep. 9, 2013, illustrates an example architecture and method to process and use tagged social media messages. This co-pending application is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

FIG. 6B illustrates an architecture of a system for performing message categorization. A message categorization processor 624 receives incoming social media data 604 from one or more social media sources. The message categorization processor 624 also receives topic vectors from the configuration database 434.

The message categorization processor 624 can be implemented as a pipeline processing mechanism, comprising a number of pipeline stages for processing of data. One of the pipeline stages pertains to categorization of social media messages. Other pipeline stages can be employed to perform other functions, such as spam processing, deduplication, sentiment analysis, and term analysis.

For message categorization, the message categorization processor 624 utilizes the semantic space to vectorize the social media content. A comparison is performed against the topic vectors to identify one or more topics that may be associated with the social media content. If any topics are identified, then the social content can be annotated and/or tagged to identify the topic. Thereafter, the categorized content 644 is released for downstream usage or storage, e.g., to be viewed using a dashboard tool or for routing to a downstream application such as a CRM (customer relations management), HR (human resources), or marketing application.

FIG. 7 illustrates a flowchart of an approach for performing message categorization using the architecture of FIG. 6B. At 701, message categorization processor 624 loads topic vectors from the configuration database 434 for any created topics. In a commercial setting, these topic vectors pertain, for example, to any topics/dimensions set up by a user for a given brand and/or product. In this context, the topics comprise a given brand or product name. The dimensions may pertain to consumer intent, interest, or psychographics.

At 702, an item of social media content (e.g., a message) is received by the message categorization processor 624. At 703, the message is vectorized. The semantic space 436 is accessed to vectorize the message to create a message vector.

At 704, the message vector is analyzed relative to the topic vector(s). This is performed, for example, by calculating the cosine of the message vector against each topic vector. The similarity of the message vector to the topic vector is computed by calculating this cosine value, to check for one of the following:

    • Identical meaning: value of cosine=1
    • Unrelated meaning: value of cosine=0
    • Opposite meaning: value of cosine=−1
    • A threshold distance to any of the above values

A message that relates to one of the created topics would correspond exactly or generally to the appropriate cosine value from performing the calculations. One or more thresholds can be configured for the cosine values to check whether or not the message matches to a topic.

At 705, any message that is identified as being associated with a given topic can be annotated and/or tagged to indicate the association. Thereafter, at 706, the annotated/tagged message exits the message processor 624 to a downstream location.

FIG. 8 shows a flowchart of an approach to create a semantic space according to some embodiments of the invention. The general idea is that a learning model is implemented to represent terms as high-dimensional vectors within the semantic space. Singular value decomposition (SVD) is employed to reduce a matrix of terms into a set of multidimensional vectors.

At 802, incoming documents are tokenized. This action is performed in some embodiments by (a) normalizing punctuations, (b) identifying co-locations; and (c) removing stop words. Stop words to be removed include, for example, “and”, “or”, “the”, “to”, “be”, “is”, “at”.

At 804, term weights are computed for the tokenized content. A global frequency is computed for the terms. In addition, a global weight (e.g., entropy) is computed for the terms. The terms can also be sorted at this stage.

At 806, a matrix of the terms is created. The matrix can be formed with content passages as rows and words as columns, where cells contain the number of times that a given word is used in a given passage. The cell values are transformed into a measure of the information about the passage identity the carry. The matrix can be formed as a Harwell-Beoing matrix.

In some embodiments, the matrix is formed using the following process:

    • For each document d
      • For each term t
        • Create a Cell value using the global weight;

At 808, singular value decomposition is applied to represent the words and passages as vectors in a high dimensional semantic space. At 810, the process generates (a) term vectors, (b) document vectors, and (c) diagonal matrix of singular names. The results are saved, at 812, into the semantic space.

Therefore, what has been described is a system, method, and computer program product for allowing an entity to access social media data, and to perform theme analysis upon that data to identify and create topics with regards to that data. The invention is capable of accessing data across multiple types of internet-based sources of social data and commentary.

A user interface is provided that allows the user to view and interact with data and control the process/mechanism or creating topics. The topic creation process can be facilitated and automated using a volatility index.

The topic creation process can be used for numerous advantageous purposes. For example, the created topics can be used to identify content from various social media sources that pertain to the created topic. This is useful, for example, to identify user themes are emerge from the social data an which can be used to “bucketize” conversations around the created topic.

System Architecture Overview

FIG. 10 is a block diagram of an illustrative computing system 1400 suitable for implementing an embodiment of the present invention. Computer system 1400 includes a bus 1406 or other communication mechanism for communicating information, which interconnects subsystems and devices, such as processor 1407, system memory 1408 (e.g., RAM), static storage device 1409 (e.g., ROM), disk drive 1410 (e.g., magnetic or optical), communications interface 1414 (e.g., modem or Ethernet card), display 1411 (e.g., CRT or LCD), input device 1412 (e.g., keyboard), and cursor control.

According to one embodiment of the invention, computer system 1400 performs specific operations by processor 1407 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in system memory 1408. Such instructions may be read into system memory 1408 from another computer readable/usable medium, such as static storage device 1409 or disk drive 1410. In alternative embodiments, hard-wired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the invention. Thus, embodiments of the invention are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and/or software. In one embodiment, the term “logic” shall mean any combination of software or hardware that is used to implement all or part of the invention.

The term “computer readable medium” or “computer usable medium” as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing instructions to processor 1407 for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including but not limited to, non-volatile media and volatile media. Non-volatile media includes, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as disk drive 1410. Volatile media includes dynamic memory, such as system memory 1408.

Common forms of computer readable media includes, for example, floppy disk, flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, any other magnetic medium, CD-ROM, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, RAM, PROM, EPROM, FLASH-EPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

In an embodiment of the invention, execution of the sequences of instructions to practice the invention is performed by a single computer system 1400. According to other embodiments of the invention, two or more computer systems 1400 coupled by communication link 1415 (e.g., LAN, PTSN, or wireless network) may perform the sequence of instructions required to practice the invention in coordination with one another.

Computer system 1400 may transmit and receive messages, data, and instructions, including program, i.e., application code, through communication link 1415 and communication interface 1414. Received program code may be executed by processor 1407 as it is received, and/or stored in disk drive 1410, or other non-volatile storage for later execution. Data may be accessed in a database 1432 on a storage device 1431.

In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention. For example, the above-described process flows are described with reference to a particular ordering of process actions. However, the ordering of many of the described process actions may be changed without affecting the scope or operation of the invention. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than restrictive sense.

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Citation

Patents Cited in This Cited by
Title Current Assignee Application Date Publication Date
System and method for automatically extracting interesting phrases in a large dynamic corpus INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORPORATION 22 September 2005 22 March 2007
Method and apparatus for textual exploration discovery BRIT HELLE AARSKOG 15 November 2002 19 May 2005
Method and apparatus for filtering email APPLE INC. 14 June 2001 09 January 2003
Meta-document management system with document identifiers III HOLDINGS 6, LLC 05 December 2001 14 October 2004
Method and apparatus for fundamental operations on token sequences: computing similarity, extracting term values, and searching efficiently NAHAVA INC. 18 February 2004 19 August 2004
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