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Implementing a std::map Replacement that Never Runs Out of Memory and Instructions on Producing an ARPA Compliant Language Model to Test the Implementation

, 14 Dec 2008
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An article on improving STL containers to cache to disk in order to lift memory limitation issues.
ARPA Compliant Language Model

Introduction

Although the usefulness of STL containers is undeniable, they also come with their set of limitations. Evolving in the speech recognition industry myself, and having to deal with often huge amount of data, the most obvious limitation introduced by STL containers is the fact that all the data needs to reside in memory.

In the context of dictation speech recognition software, most speech recognition engines require ARPA compliant language models to perform their magic. Just imagine the task of building a language model from hundreds of megabyte of corpus data, and, in the process, getting to the determination of probabilities of not only words, but also sequences of words. Such a task is almost impossible with the exclusive use of unmanaged STL containers.

In the present article, I will expose a solution to that problem and use the opportunity to also introduce you to the wonderful world of speech recognition (or at least a portion of it) by going over the code that can handle the generation of an ARPA compliant language model from hundreds of megabytes of corpus data without ever running out of memory.

Background

ARPA compliant language models have been around for quite some time, and they are not going anywhere in the foreseeable future. They are the primary means by which a speech recognition engine can be dictated how to bias its speech input and recognize textual data as a result. Although a general English language model obviously achieves a purpose, the tendency has diverted in the previous years to generate more specialized language models. For example, a radiology language model could be used in the Medical field where practicians historical corpus of data would be used to generate an highly specialized model, hence minimizing false-recognition since the vocabulary would be more constrained.

Here is an actual language model for us to look at. It comes from the following corpus of text:

This is a test
This is a second test

With a fixed discounted mass of 0.4 (more on that later), the trigram (limited to sequences of 3 words) language model generated from that limited corpus of text is as follows:

\data\
ngram 1=5
ngram 2=5
ngram 3=4

\1-grams:
-0.8751 This -0.3358
-0.8751 a -0.3010
-0.8751 is -0.3358
-1.1761 second -0.3358
-0.8751 test -0.3979

\2-grams:
-0.2218 This is 0.0000
-0.5229 a second 0.0000
-0.5229 a test. -0.3979
-0.2218 is a 0.0000
-0.2218 second test -0.3979

\3-grams:
-0.2218 This is a
-0.2218 a second test
-0.5229 is a second
-0.5229 is a test

\end\

On the left side of each sequence of words is the probability, and on the right side is the backoff probability (except for the 3-grams). Here's how it works. For example, let's take the line "-0.8751 This -0.3358".

Let's start simple. The probability of the word "this" in the corpus of text is 2/9 (there are 2 occurrences of the word "this" over a total of 9 words) multiplied by 0.6 (1 - 0.4, the non-discounted mass). The number that is required in the ARPA compliant language model is the actual log of that calculation. Hence, log(2/9 * (1 - 0.4)) = -0.8751.

A little word is required about discounts and backoff probabilities. Backoff probabilities are related to non-terminated utterances. For example, if I'd be talking, I could well say something like "this is a" and later continue "test". Without backoff probabilities, a speech recognition engine would fail at recognizing the non-terminated utterance since it would not have any probability associated with it. For that simple reason, and since a probability always needs to sum to one, we take a chunk of the probability mass (the discount of 0.4 in our case) and reserve it for backoff probabilities. Since the model is a trigram, you will understand that the 3-grams do not have any backoff probabilities associated with them.

Consequently, here is how the backoff probability of "this" is calculated. The sum of all the N-gram probabilities completing the (N+1)-grams of words starting with the N-Gram word is computed, and it is then diluted the discount mass and log. For the case of "this", that means log(0.4/(1-0.13332)) since the only 2-gram sequence starting with "this" is "this is" and that the probability of "is" is 0.133332 (10 exp -0.8751).

When calculating N-grams where N>1, instead of dividing the count of sequences of words by the total amount of sequences of words, the count is divided by the count of (N-1)-grams starting with the same sequence of words. For example, the probability related to "this is" is log(2/2 * (1 - 0.4)) = -0.2218 since there are 2 occurrences of the word "this" as well as 2 occurrences of the sequence "this is".

These calculations are not so complex, but nevertheless, since there are so many dependencies between the count generating the probabilities and then the backoff probabilities requiring the previous determination of other corresponding probabilities, it is impossible to perform the calculations before all the data is organized and in place. The problem of generating a language model is an indexing problem more than anything else. That is, the algorithm needs to keep track of many counts of many words and sequences of words prior to starting any calculation. I will expose here how that can be done with STL containers without ever running out of memory regardless of the fact that hundreds of megabytes of data could be processed.

Using the Code

Step 1 (Optional): Garbage Collection

To start our task, we will first create a garbage collection template. Although we could have achieved our goal without it, I find it cleaner to create a garbage collection logic and build upon it than to have to mingle with deletes all over the place.

The std::auto_ptr template is almost perfect for garbage collection, but it lacks a copy constructor and assignment operator. For that reason, I propose the shared_auto_ptr as following. I create a contained_auto_ptr template class that has for purpose to hold a unique pointer address that was referred to by a shared_auto_ptr object. That template class is private and only shared_auto_ptr should ever use it. Its copy constructor and assignment operators are private to ensure they are not mis-manipulated by anyone else. The shared_auto_ptr is composed of one pointer to a contained_auto_ptr that holds the count referring to it. The constructor, destructor, copy constructor and assignment operators of the shared_auto_ptr are all written so that count from the associated contained_auto_ptr object is maintained accordingly, and once the count gets down to zero, the associated memory to the contained_auto_ptr object, as well as the contained_auto_ptr itself are deleted. As long as the user of that interface disciplines herself/himself not to use any pointers anywhere else in the code, this is a bullet-proof garbage collection methodology with only little overhead.

/* *************************** interfaces ************************** */

// - contained_auto_ptr:

// The contained_auto_ptr is the container of a unique ptr that holds a count
// of the referants.

// It hides the copy constructor and assignment operator in its private section
// in order to ensure that it is never constructed or assigned to another object
// without going through the shared_auto_ptr.

// There are no public method in this class since it is expected to exclusively be 
// called by its friend class shared_auto_ptr<T>.

template <class T> class contained_auto_ptr
{

public:
	friend class shared_auto_ptr<T>;

protected:

	// The GetContainer acts as a static constructor, but constructs only if no
	// other contained_auto_ptr<T> points to the same pointer p.
	static contained_auto_ptr<T> *GetContainer(T* p = NULL) throw();

	// In order to extract the value pointed by the object, use the get() method.
	T *get() const throw();

	// Destructor...
	~contained_auto_ptr() throw();

private:

	// Constructor: never call directly. Use GetContainer instead...
	contained_auto_ptr(T* p = NULL) throw();

	// This static map holds the equivalence between pointers and
         // contained_auto_ptr objects already created.
	static map<uintptr_t, contained_auto_ptr<T>*> m_equivalenceMap;

	// We hide the copy constructor and the assignment operators to ensure they
	// are never used.
	contained_auto_ptr(const contained_auto_ptr&) throw();
	void operator=(const contained_auto_ptr&) throw();

	int m_count;	// holds the count of the referants.
	T *_ptr;		// T* being held by the object.
};

// - shared_auto_ptr (*** PUBLIC INTERFACE ***):

// The shared_auto_ptr allows for the creation of a referant to a location in memory.
// It may create a contained_auto_ptr object in the event that it is the first referant
// of the memory location. Upon the destruction of the last referant, the
// memory allocated will be deleted.

template <class T> class shared_auto_ptr
{

public:

	// Constructor:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - p must point to the memory location to track.
	// PROMISES:
	// - upon destruction of the shared_auto_ptr object, p will be deleted only
	// when the last referant will have been deleted.

	shared_auto_ptr(T* p = NULL) throw();

	// Destructor:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - none.
	// PROMISES:
	// - upon destruction of the shared_auto_ptr object, the pointer provided
         // upon construction or obtained through the assignment operator will be
         // deleted only when the last referant will have been deleted.

	~shared_auto_ptr() throw();

	// Copy constructor:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - none.
	// PROMISES:
	// - upon destruction of the shared_auto_ptr object, the pointer provided
         // upon construction or obtained through the assignment operator will be
         // deleted only when the last referant will have been deleted.

	shared_auto_ptr(const shared_auto_ptr&) throw();

	// assignment operator:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - none.
	// PROMISES:
	// - upon destruction of the shared_auto_ptr object, the pointer provided
         // upon construction or obtained through the assignment operator will
         // be deleted only when the last referant will have been deleted.

	void operator=(const shared_auto_ptr&) throw();

	// get():

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - Do not use the returned pointer outside the scope where it was
         // obtained (as when that scope is left, the shared_auto_ptr object may
         // be deleted, and the memory associated with
	// it also consequently).
	// PROMISES:
	// - Within the same scope, the returned pointer will be good.

	T *get() const throw();

	// -> operator:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - Do not use the returned pointer outside the scope where it was
         // obtained (as when that scope is left, the shared_auto_ptr object
         // may be deleted, and the memory associated with it also consequently).
	// PROMISES:
	// - Within the same scope, the returned pointer will be good.

	T *operator->() const throw() { return get(); }

private:
	contained_auto_ptr<T> *m_contained_auto_ptr;
};

With the implementation of this template as included in the code, I can now abstract my dealings with pointers and forget about the deletes. That results in simpler and more reliable code.

Step 2: An Indexing Strategy

Typically, if I'd abstract my memory concerns, a std::map<string,struct> would be the perfect candidate to resolve my indexing problem. But, with my memory concerns, the std::map template becomes useless. It needs to be replaced by another structure that acquires the same qualities as the std::map template, but becomes more versatile when it comes to memory management.

For that purpose, I have chosen a 3-way decision tree. An example of the decision tree, populated with 2 entries, looks like the following:

IndexStructure<int> tree;
tree["this"] = 3;
tree["test"] = 2;

                         t(NULL)
                        /|\
                       / | \
                      /  |  \
                     /   |   \
                    /    |    \
                   /     |     \
                  /      h(NULL)\
                 NULL   /|\      NULL
                       / | \
                      /  |  \
                     /   |   \
                    /    |    \
                   /     |     \
                  e(NULL)|      NULL
                  |      is(3)
                  |
                  st(2)

The decision tree has a head node, and each node is composed of a reference to a smaller than node, an equal to node and a greater than node. The indexing strategy is not revolutionary on its own, but it gets the job done.

// - IndexStructureNode:

// An IndexStructure<T> (public interface available) 
// holds nodes of type IndexStructureNode<T> (no
// public interface). IndexStructureNode should not be used 
// outside the context of a IndexStructure,
// and as a consequence to that, no public interfaces defined.

template <class T> class IndexStructureNode
{

public:
	friend class IndexStructure<T>;
	friend class IndexStructureIterator<T>;
	~IndexStructureNode() throw();

protected:
	IndexStructureNode(const IndexStructureNode<T> ©) throw();
	IndexStructureNode<T> &operator=(const IndexStructureNode<T> ©) throw();
	unsigned long GetNodeId() const throw() { return m_nodeId; }
	T *get() const throw() { return m_data.get(); }
	IndexStructureNode(IndexStructure<T> &owner, bool assignId = true) throw();
	static IndexStructureNode<T> *ReadNode(IndexStructure<T> *owner, 
		fstream &dStream, unsigned long dNodeId) throw(fstream::failure);
	void ReadNodeData(fstream &dStream) throw(fstream::failure);
	void WriteNode(fstream &dStream) throw(fstream::failure);
	void WriteNodeData(fstream &dStream) throw(fstream::failure);
	string GetKey() throw();
	inline void SetDirty() throw();
	inline void FlagReference() throw();

private:
	unsigned long m_nodeId;		// the unique node id 
					// (used in m_parentNode, 
					// m_equalChildNode, m_smallerChildNode, 
					// m_greaterChildNode)
	string m_index;			// the index portion from the node
	mutable unsigned long m_lastAccess;	// the sequential last access to the node 
					// (used to notify to dump to disk)
	unsigned long m_parentNode;		// the parent node of this node 
					// (or 0 if there are no parent node)
	unsigned long m_equalChildNode;	// the node to go to if the test 
					// equals m_index
	unsigned long m_smallerChildNode;	// the node to go to if the test is 
					// smaller than m_index
	unsigned long m_greaterChildNode;	// the node to go to if the test is 
					// greater than m_index
	shared_auto_ptr<T> m_data;		// the data held (if any) by the node
	IndexStructure<T> &m_owner;		// the IndexStructure context 
					// owning the node
	bool m_dirty;			// a dirty flag referred to 
					// prior to dumping to disk
};

With the IndexStructureNode template defined, the IndexStructure becomes definable as follows:

#define MEMORYMAP(T) std::map<unsigned long, shared_auto_ptr<IndexStructureNode<T> > >

template <class T> class IndexStructure
{
public:

	friend class IndexStructureNode<T>;
	friend class IndexStructureIterator<T>;

	// Constructor to build an IndexStructure from memory
	IndexStructure(unsigned int nodeDataLength, unsigned int nodeIndexLength = 6, 
		unsigned int maxNodesInMemory = 2000) throw(FileErrorException, 
		fstream::failure);

	// IndexStructure destructor
	~IndexStructure() throw();

	// Accessor of IndexStructure
	unsigned long GetNodesCount() const throw() { return m_nodesCreationCount; }
	unsigned long GetNodesInMemoryCount() const throw() 
		{ return m_memoryNodes.size(); }
	bool HasData(const string index) throw();

	// Mutator of IndexStructure
	T& operator[] (const string index) throw(AlgorithmErrorException);

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - None.
	// PROMISES:
	// - Upon return, less than m_maxNodesInMemory will be in memory.
	void PurgeFromMemory() throw();

protected:

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - The node needs to be fully constructed and populated with the index 
	// (without the need to ensure
	// the m_index respects the size constraint).
	// PROMISES:
	// - Upon return, new node(s) may get created and 
	// the size of m_index will respect the constraints
	// of m_nodeIndexlength.
	// - The return value will point to the last node created 
	// (the one that should contain the data).
	shared_auto_ptr< IndexStructureNode<T> > 
	  AdaptNodeIndexSize(shared_auto_ptr< IndexStructureNode<T> > &node) throw();

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - A good node id in parameter.
	// PROMISES:
	// - Upon return, the node will have been loaded from disk into memory.
	shared_auto_ptr<IndexStructureNode<T>> LoadNode(unsigned long dNodeId) 
		throw(BadNodeIdErrorException, fstream::failure);

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - An opened fstream with the mode in and out and binary.
	// PROMISES:
	// - The header in the file will be updated accordingly.
	void WriteHeader(fstream &dStream) throw(fstream::failure);

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - An opened fstream with the mode in and out and binary.
	// - m_headerSize contains the right header size.
	// - A call to WriteHeader on the fstream will have been previously be made.
	// PROMISES:
	// - The file may be resized to ensure node can be written in it.
	// - The seek position will be placed at the right offset 
	// to start writing the node.
	void SeekStreamToNodePosition(fstream &dStream, unsigned long dNodeId) 
		throw(fstream::failure);

	// REQUIREMENTS:
	// - A node that may have child nodes.
	// PROMISES:
	// - The child node's parent will correctly point back to the node 
	// passed as a parameter.
	void AdaptParentsInChildNodes(shared_auto_ptr< IndexStructureNode<T> > 
							&dNode) throw();

private:

	string m_fileName;
	unsigned int m_nodeIndexLength;
	unsigned int m_nodeDataLength;
	unsigned int m_maxNodesInMemory;
	fstream m_cacheStream;
	mutable unsigned long m_nodesCreationCount;
	mutable unsigned long m_accessCount;
	mutable MEMORYMAP(T) m_memoryNodes;
	mutable int m_headerSize;
	mutable unsigned long long m_lastAccessTotal;
	static const char *m_zeroBuffer;
};

The important things to note are the presence of m_memoryNodes, m_lastAccess and m_maxNodesInMemory. m_memoryNodes is the std::map that is not optimized for intensive memory usage, and m_maxNodesInMemory specifies how many nodes could be in memory at any given time. m_lastAccess holds a value that was assigned sequentially so that we could later determine how old an access to that IndexStructureNode was made (we will want to keep in memory the latest referenced nodes, and dispose of the older ones at purge time). It is important for each IndexStructureNode to be serializable for the IndexStructure to cache to disk.

While maintaining the m_lastAccess in each IndexStructureNode object, I also maintain m_lastAccessTotal into the associated IndexStructure object. That will keep the total so that I could later use it to average and get to a determination if a reference to a single IndexStructureNode is old enough to be purged or not.

For the caching to disk to be efficient, it helps if the size of a IndexStructureNode object to disk is predictable since we could simply offset its location in a file by a calculation dependant of its id. Once that is all in place, a periodic purge of the memory is invoked as follows:

template <class T> void IndexStructure<t>::PurgeFromMemory() throw()
{
	if (m_memoryNodes.size() > m_maxNodesInMemory)
	{
		MEMORYMAP(T) swapMap;
		unsigned long long newTotal = 0;
		WriteHeader(m_cacheStream);
		unsigned long avgAccess = (unsigned long)
			(m_lastAccessTotal/m_memoryNodes.size());
		avgAccess += (avgAccess/3);
		{
			for (MEMORYMAP(T)::iterator it = m_memoryNodes.begin(); 
					it != m_memoryNodes.end(); it++)
			{
				if (it->second.get()->m_lastAccess < avgAccess)
				{
					it->second.get()->WriteNode
							(m_cacheStream);
					it->second = NULL;
				}
				if (it->second.get() != NULL)
				{
					newTotal += it->second.get()->

								m_lastAccess;
					swapMap[it->first] = it->second;
				}
			}
		}
		m_memoryNodes = swapMap;
		m_lastAccessTotal = newTotal;
	}
}

... and one needs to always call a special method that will populate a node in memory in the event that it is cached to disk, implemented as follows:

template <class T> shared_auto_ptr<IndexStructureNode<T>> 
	IndexStructure<T>::LoadNode(unsigned long dNodeId) 
	throw(BadNodeIdErrorException, fstream::failure)
{
	if (m_memoryNodes.find(dNodeId) != m_memoryNodes.end())
	{
		return m_memoryNodes[dNodeId];
	}
	else
	{
		if ((dNodeId > m_nodesCreationCount) || (dNodeId < 1))
		{
			throw(BadNodeIdErrorException("Bad node id."));
		}
		IndexStructureNode<T> *dNewNode = 
		    IndexStructureNode<T>::ReadNode(this, m_cacheStream, dNodeId);
		m_memoryNodes[dNodeId] = shared_auto_ptr
					<IndexStructureNode<T>>(dNewNode);
		return m_memoryNodes[dNodeId];
	}
}

The indexing strategy would not be completed without some mechanisms to iterate through the accumulated data. For that purpose, the IndexStructureIterator template class was created.

// - IndexStructureIterator (*** PUBLIC INTERFACE ***):

// In order to traverse a IndexStructure<t> tree, 
// use an IndexStructureIterator<t> object.

// IndexStructureIterator<int> iterator(dIndex);
// for (iterator.Begin(); !iterator.End(); iterator++)
// {
// 	cout << "Data (" << iterator.GetKey() << "): " << *iterator.get() << "\n";
// }

// ... or, an IndexStructureIterator could traverse only a portion of 
// an IndexStructure tree
// by calling it the following way (provided a second IndexStructureIterator it2):

// IndexStructureIterator<int> it(m_index);
// for (it.Reset(it2); !it.End(); it++)
// {
// 	cout << "Data (" << it.GetKey() << "): " << *it.get() << "\n";
// }

// The previous code snippet only outputs the nodes below the current node of it2.

// The GetKey method returns the primary key of the current node.
// The get method returns the T* of the current node.

// The IndexStructureIterator template allows for iterating an IndexStructure.
// An increment of an IndexStructureIterator will make it stop 
// on the next IndexStructureNode that has
// some data associated to it.

template <class T> class IndexStructureIterator
{

public:
	friend class IndexStructure<T>;
	friend class IndexStructureNode<T>;
	IndexStructureIterator(IndexStructure<T> &structure) throw();
	IndexStructureIterator<T> operator++(int) throw();
	T *get() const throw();
	void Reset() throw();
	void Reset(IndexStructureIterator<T> &it) throw();
	bool End() throw();
	string GetKey() throw();
	IndexStructureIterator<T> Begin() throw();

private:
	class CDecisionOnNode
	{
	public:
		enum EDirection
		{
			goLeft = -1,
			goCenter = 0,
			goRight = 2,
			goUp = 3
		};
		CDecisionOnNode(unsigned long dNodeId, EDirection dDirection): 
			m_nodeId(dNodeId), m_direction(dDirection) {}
		unsigned long m_nodeId;
		EDirection m_direction;
	};
	IndexStructureIterator<T> &operator++() throw() {}
	void IterateToNextPopulatedNode() throw();

	stack<CDecisionOnNode> m_decisions;
	IndexStructure<T> &m_structure;
	bool m_endReached;
	shared_auto_ptr< IndexStructureNode<T> > m_curNode;
};

The iteration through the tree uses a stack of CDecisionOnNode in order to ensure that each node is only visited once. By maintaining that stack of CDecisionOnNode, the algorithm already produces an answer to a later inquiry (where should I go), and the size of the stack is limited to the depth of the index tree. The algorithm looks as follows:

template <class T> void IndexStructureIterator<T>::IterateToNextPopulatedNode() throw()
{
	shared_auto_ptr< IndexStructureNode<T> > disqualifyNode = m_curNode;
	if ((!m_endReached) && (!m_decisions.empty()))
	{
		bool skipNextTest = false;
		do
		{
			CDecisionOnNode dDecision = m_decisions.top();
			// Unexpected (may be because of multi-threading issues).
			if (dDecision.m_nodeId != m_curNode->GetNodeId())	
			{
				CDecisionOnNode otherDecision
				(m_curNode->GetNodeId(), CDecisionOnNode::goLeft);
				if (m_curNode.get()->get() != NULL)
				{
					m_decisions.push(otherDecision);
					break;
				}
				else
				{
					dDecision = otherDecision;
					m_decisions.push(otherDecision);
				}
			}
			switch (dDecision.m_direction)
			{
				case CDecisionOnNode::goLeft:
					m_decisions.top().m_direction = 
						CDecisionOnNode::goCenter;
					if (m_curNode->m_smallerChildNode != 0)
					{
						m_curNode = m_structure.LoadNode
						(m_curNode->m_smallerChildNode);
					}
					else
					{
						continue;
					}
					m_decisions.push(CDecisionOnNode
						(m_curNode->GetNodeId(), 
						CDecisionOnNode::goLeft));
					break;
				case CDecisionOnNode::goCenter:
					m_decisions.top().m_direction = 
						CDecisionOnNode::goRight;
					if (m_curNode->m_equalChildNode != 0)
					{
						m_curNode = m_structure.LoadNode
						(m_curNode->m_equalChildNode);
					}
					else
					{
						continue;
					}
					m_decisions.push(CDecisionOnNode
					(m_curNode->GetNodeId(), 
					CDecisionOnNode::goLeft));
					break;
				case CDecisionOnNode::goRight:
					m_decisions.top().m_direction = 
						CDecisionOnNode::goUp;
					if (m_curNode->m_greaterChildNode != 0)
					{
						m_curNode = m_structure.LoadNode
						(m_curNode->m_greaterChildNode);
					}
					else
					{
						continue;
					}
					m_decisions.push(CDecisionOnNode
					(m_curNode->GetNodeId(), 
					CDecisionOnNode::goLeft));
					break;
				case CDecisionOnNode::goUp:
					m_decisions.pop();
					if ((m_curNode->m_parentNode != 0) 
						&& (!m_decisions.empty()))
					{
						m_curNode = m_structure.LoadNode
						(m_curNode->m_parentNode);
						disqualifyNode = m_curNode;
					}
					else
					{
						m_endReached = true;
					}
					break;
			}
		}
		while ((!m_endReached) && ((m_curNode.get()->get() == NULL) || 
			(disqualifyNode.get()->get() == m_curNode.get()->get())) 
			&& (!m_decisions.empty()));
	}
	if (m_curNode.get()->get() == NULL)
	{
		m_endReached = true;
	}
}

Step 3: Putting It All Together into a Language-Model Calculation Class

The creation of a language-model generation class (CLMEngine) becomes easy once these services are in place. As a matter of fact, the CLMEngine class's implementation fits within 150 lines of code (with almost 1/3 being comments), and the logic is extremely easy to follow. Even better than that is the fact that its calculations are never bound to any memory limitation issues.

double CLMEngine::CalculateOneProbability(string dKey, CNodeData dNodeData) throw()
{
	if (dNodeData.m_level == 1)
	{
		// For 1-grams, the probability is the count of 
		// the event divided by the total amount of event (not unique),
		// all that diluted the discounted mass. For example, 
		// for the node containing the word 'a', the probability would be
		// how many times 'a' is found in the corpus divided by 
		// the total amount of words in the same corpus, then
		// multiplied by the non-discounted mass.
		return (double)((double)1.0-m_discount) * 
			(double)dNodeData.m_count/(double)m_levelEvents
					[dNodeData.m_level-1].m_events;
	}
	else
	{
		// For N-grams (where N > 1), the probability is the amount of events 
		// divided by the amount of events in the N-1 gram starting
		// with the same N-1 words. For example, for the node 
		// 'this is a' in the 3-grams, the probability is 
		// how many times that sequence
		// is found in the corpus divided by how many times 
		// 'this is' is found in the same corpus, multiplied by the 
		// non-discounted mass.
		return (double)((double)1.0-m_discount) * 
			(double)dNodeData.m_count/(double)m_index
			[dKey.substr(0, dKey.length() - 
			dNodeData.m_lastTokenLength - 1)].m_count;
	}
}

double CLMEngine::CalculateOneBackoffProbability
	(IndexStructureIterator<cnodedata> &dLocationInTree) throw()
{
	double dSum = 0;
	IndexStructureIterator<cnodedata> it(m_index);
	// We only iterate through the sub-nodes that were passed in parameter
	// to this method.
	for (it.Reset(dLocationInTree); !it.End(); it++)
	{
		// Under the node that was passed as a parameter, 
		// only N+1 grams are of interest to us, and from
		// these, only the nodes that start with the words 
		// provided from the node passed in parameter.
		// For example, to calculate the backoff calculation of 
		// 'is a', we would need to sum the probabilities
		// of all 1-gram nodes that complete the 3-gram nodes 
		// starting with 'is a', for example 'is a test'
		// and 'is a second' (hence 'test' and 'second'). 
		// That then needs to be diluted to the discounted mass.
		if ((it.get()->m_level == (dLocationInTree.get()->m_level + 1)) &&

			(dLocationInTree.GetKey().compare(it.GetKey().substr(0, 
			it.GetKey().length() - it.get()
					->m_lastTokenLength - 1)) == 0))
		{
			string dKey = it.GetKey().substr
				(it.get()->m_firstTokenLength + 1);
			dSum += CalculateOneProbability(dKey, m_index[dKey]);
		}
	}
	return (m_discount/(floor(((double)1-dSum)*100000+0.5)/100000));
}

Points of Interest

With the code attached to this article, a language-model is generated from a corpus of 1.5 MB within 2 minutes of analysis time.

Note that the IndexStructure class could be improved to be written and read to and from disk. That would be somewhat useful in order to skip the word counting phase within the context of language-model calculation and would allow for a faster merge of multiple language-models. To this day, merging language models has almost never been factored into research and even less deployments. Now that we are heading towards more specialization of language-models, one could easily think of a physician that is a radiologist and an oncologist. He could be offered to use a language-model that holds both corpus at the same time, and for these calculations to happen, if the count files would have been kept to disk, the merging process only becomes a matter of generating a sum index tree and then performing the language-model calculations themselves (hence saving a lot of time on recounting the words once again).

That being said, for those that are not as passionate about speech-recognition as I am, I hope the exposed techniques to deal with memory management within this article would benefit some in the community that has given me so much over time.

History

  • Wednesday, December 10th, 2008: Article created

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

Roy, Philippe
Software Developer (Senior)
Canada Canada
Philippe Roy was a key contributor throughout his 20+ years career with many high-profile companies such as Nuance Communications, IBM (ViaVoice and ProductManager), VoiceBox Technologies, just to name a few. He is creative and proficient in OO coding and design, knowledgeable about the intellectual-property world (he owns many patents), tri-lingual, and passionate about being part of a team that creates great solutions.
 
Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention, he has a special thing for speech recognition and natural language processing... The magic of first seeing a computer transform something as chaotic as sound and natural language into intelligible and useful output has never left him.

Comments and Discussions

 
QuestionDeletion? PinmemberMember 476475918-Dec-08 6:35 
Hi Philippe,
 
I'm just about to embark on writing something like this to solve an in memory caching problem that's pushing us over the 2gig process limit.
 
I notice you haven't implemented a delete. I was wondering how you'd tackle that?
 
My immediate thoughts was akin to that of a memory manager.
 
Cheers
Rich
AnswerRe: Deletion? PinmemberPhil. Roy18-Dec-08 7:44 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberMember 476475918-Dec-08 22:12 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberPhil. Roy19-Dec-08 2:41 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberMember 476475919-Dec-08 3:02 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberPhil. Roy19-Dec-08 3:50 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberMember 476475919-Dec-08 6:00 
GeneralRe: Deletion? [modified] PinmemberSnakefoot6-Jan-09 4:03 
GeneralRe: Deletion? PinmemberMember 47647596-Jan-09 4:34 
AnswerRe: Deletion? PinmemberDrewH21-Jan-09 8:28 
GeneralVoice recognition PinmemberDogby15-Dec-08 15:07 
General64-Bit Portability Pinmembersisira15-Dec-08 4:47 
GeneralRe: 64-Bit Portability PinmemberMember 107844315-Dec-08 9:17 
GeneralRe: 64-Bit Portability PinmemberPhil. Roy18-Dec-08 19:23 
GeneralRe: 64-Bit Portability PinmemberDrewH21-Jan-09 8:21 
QuestionGarbage Collected Pointers? PinmemberNicholas White15-Dec-08 3:16 
AnswerRe: Garbage Collected Pointers? PinmemberMember 107844315-Dec-08 4:17 
GeneralRe: Garbage Collected Pointers? PinmemberNemanja Trifunovic15-Dec-08 8:37 
GeneralRe: Garbage Collected Pointers? PinmemberJerry Jeremiah17-Dec-08 13:18 

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