Followup: 2000 iterations and a burning hot computer

My computer is not sluggish- it can handle Battlefield 4 on Ultra at 1080p/60fps (which, for you nongamers, means very fast and very good looking). However, it would seem skimming through text documents gives it some pause for concern. 62.976 seconds after starting up the topic modeling tool, though, my little machine spit out a list of 50 topics that could be isolated from the various words therein. So that one doesn’t need to refer back to my last post, here’s a refresher:

1. holmes word head words men message revolver shook life shot — Holmes, firearms, and investigations
2. light stood long suddenly lamp dark sound low shoulder figure — Stealth and sneakiness
3. clear doubt mind person possibly obvious idea excellent perfectly point — Deduction and flattery
4. make father made heard son returned left mr view point — Conspiracy and inheritance
5. eyes face man looked dark thin tall features companion pale — Description of characters
6. house small large stone great high place square windows houses — Houses and mansions
7. reason remember fear danger clear told chance strong horror family — Rationale
8. told heart knew god story hands life speak truth leave — Rationalization
9. matter understand position imagine call absolutely important trust force hope — Help me, Holmes, you’re my only hope
10. holmes mr professor fresh work aware surprise action great change —Sudden change in behavior

So, why did I choose these topics? They all had a primary commonality, being that they were about a general topic narrowed down to instances from their specific stories. Examples were plucked from specific passages, but these are overarching sentiments seen again and again in the archives. These sentiments are basic tropes in the mystery canon: implements of murder (1), men creeping in the shadows (2), a victim’s family rationalizing their sorrows (8), and, particularly for Holmes, a plea for help (9).

The simplicity of the fairly elaborate points here makes these 10 topics effective for getting a “feel” for Sherlock Holmes and the universe he inhabits. Together, they detail the basic elements of an average story. Thus, I believe them to be the most effective topics to be chosen out of this fairly bulky list.

As for the generation of the list, I experimented with a variety of settings before settling on the 50 topics/2000 iterations/10 topic word option. I tried as many as 500 topics and 5000 iterations, and as few as 10 topics and 500 iterations. The former produced too many specific topics, focusing on specific plot elements from specific stories. The latter produced too many broad topics, focusing on broadly used vocabulary words from many of the stories. I determined that an appropriate middle ground was found in the 50/2000/10 option, and I believe the topics chosen reflect that.


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