I am trying to train a convolutional neural network with Keras at recognizing tags for Stack Exchange questions about cooking.

The i-th question element of my data-set is like this:

id                                                         2
title                    How should I cook bacon in an oven?
content    <p>I've heard of people cooking bacon in an ov...
tags                                 oven cooking-time bacon
Name: 1, dtype: object

I have removed tags with BeautifulSoup and removed punctuation too. Since questions' content are very big I have decided to focus on titles. I have used sklearn CountVectorizer to vectorize words in titles. However they were more than 8000 words (excluding stop words). So I decided apply a part of speech tagging and retrieve only Nouns and Gerunds.

from sklearn.feature_extraction.text import CountVectorizer
vectorizer = CountVectorizer(stop_words='english')
titles = dataframes['cooking']['title']
pos_titles = []
for i,title in enumerate(titles):
    pos = []
    pt_titl = nltk.pos_tag(word_tokenize(title))
    for pt in pt_titl:
        if pt[1]=='NN' or pt[1]=='NNS' or pt[1]=='VBG':# or pt[1]=='VBP' or pt[1]=='VBS':
    pos_titles.append(" ".join(pos))

This represents my input vector. I have vectorized tags too and extract dense matrixes for both input and tags.

tags = [" ".join(x) for x in dataframes['cooking']['tags']]
Xd = X.todense()

Y = vectorizer.fit_transform(tags)
Yd = Y.todense()

Split data into train and validation set

from sklearn.model_selection import train_test_split
X_train, X_test, y_train, y_test = train_test_split(Xd, Yd, test_size=0.33, random_state=42)

Now I am trying to train a Conv1D network

from keras.models import Sequential
from keras.layers import Dense, Activation,Flatten
from keras.layers import Conv2D, MaxPooling2D,Conv1D, Embedding,GlobalMaxPooling1D,Dropout,MaxPooling1D

model = Sequential()

model.add(Dense(Yd.shape[1], activation ='softmax'))

model.fit(X_train, y_train, batch_size=32,verbose=1)

But it gets stucked on a very low accuracy and it shows a barely increasing loss along the epochs

Epoch 1/10
10320/10320 [==============================] - 401s - loss: 15.8098 - acc: 0.0604   
Epoch 2/10
10320/10320 [==============================] - 339s - loss: 15.5671 - acc: 0.0577   
Epoch 3/10
10320/10320 [==============================] - 314s - loss: 15.5509 - acc: 0.0578   
Epoch 4/10
10320/10320 [==============================] - 34953s - loss: 15.5493 - acc: 0.0578  
Epoch 5/10
10320/10320 [==============================] - 323s - loss: 15.5587 - acc: 0.0578   
Epoch 6/10
 6272/10320 [=================>............] - ETA: 133s - loss: 15.6005 - acc: 0.0550
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Take a look through the processed data, in human-readable form. I.e. just look at the filtered and stemmed nouns and gerunds. Test yourself. How well do you assign the correct tags? For comparison, try when faced with just the titles. This can be a sense check whether the task is achievable, as humans are naturally good at language processing, but the data you have collected, or how you have simplified it, may have made your task near impossible. If you can still do it, then it is time to consider whether your model needs changes. $\endgroup$ Mar 20, 2017 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


This wildml blog post has a very clear explanation of how to use 1D convolution on text. And Debo, DS at x.ai, provided some example Keras code to classify text using a character-based model (input documents are sequences of one-hot encoded characters rather than words or POS tags):

from keras.models import Model
from keras.layers import Input, Dense, Dropout, Flatten
from keras.layers.convolutional import Convolution1D, MaxPooling1D

inputs = Input(shape=(maxlen, vocab_size), name='input', dtype='float32')
conv = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[0],
                     border_mode='valid', activation='relu',
                     input_shape=(maxlen, vocab_size))(inputs)
conv = MaxPooling1D(pool_length=3)(conv)
conv1 = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[1],
                      border_mode='valid', activation='relu')(conv)
conv1 = MaxPooling1D(pool_length=3)(conv1)
conv2 = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[2],
                      border_mode='valid', activation='relu')(conv1)
conv3 = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[3],
                      border_mode='valid', activation='relu')(conv2)
conv4 = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[4],
                      border_mode='valid', activation='relu')(conv3)
conv5 = Convolution1D(nb_filter=nb_filter, filter_length=filter_kernels[5],
                      border_mode='valid', activation='relu')(conv4)
conv5 = MaxPooling1D(pool_length=3)(conv5)
conv5 = Flatten()(conv5)
z = Dropout(0.5)(Dense(dense_outputs, activation='relu')(conv5))
z = Dropout(0.5)(Dense(dense_outputs, activation='relu')(z))

pred = Dense(n_out, activation='softmax', name='output')(z)   
model = Model(input=inputs, output=pred) 
model.compile(loss='categorical_crossentropy', optimizer='rmsprop',

The last 3 lines are important. You can't use softmax on your output and you can't use 'categorical_crossentropy' for multi-label tagging (your problem). Your text tagging problem should be broken down into multiple binary classification problems, or you need to use a different loss function like 'binary_crossentropy'. And for binary_crossentropy, use a sigmoid activation function rather than softmax on the output. See this SO answer for details on multi-label tagging problems in keras and TF.

If you want a more thorough explanation, check out Chapter 7 in my book, NLP In Action.


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