IRCS Technical Reports Series

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version



University of Pennsylvania Institute for Research in Cognitive Science Technical Report No. IRCS-97-08.


Many problems in natural language processing can be viewed as linguistic classification problems, in which linguistic contexts are used to predict linguistic classes. Maximum entropy models offer a clean way to combine diverse pieces of contextual evidence in order to estimate the probability of a certain linguistic class occurring with a certain linguistic context. This report demonstrates the use of a particular maximum entropy model on an example problem, and then proves some relevant mathematical facts about the model in a simple and accessible manner. This report also describes an existing procedure called Generalized Iterative Scaling, which estimates the parameters of this particular model. The goal of this report is to provide enough detail to re-implement the maximum entropy models described in [Ratnaparkhi,1996, Reynar and Ratnaparkhi,1997, Ratnaparkhi, 1997] and also to provide a simple explanation of the maximum entropy formalism.



Date Posted: 26 August 2006