File: libbow-desc.texi

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Documentation and updates for `libbow' are available at
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~mccallum/bow

Rainbow is a C program that performs document classification using one
of several different methods, including naive Bayes, TFIDF/Rocchio,
K-nearest neighbor, Maximum Entropy, Support Vector Machines, Fuhr's
Probabilitistic Indexing, and a simple-minded form a shrinkage with
naive Bayes.

Rainbow's accompanying library, `libbow', is a library of C code
intended for support of statistical text-processing programs.  The
current source distribution includes the library, a text classification
front-end (rainbow), a simple TFIDF-based document retrieval front-end
(arrow), an AltaVista-style document retrieval front-end (archer), and a
unsupported document clustering front-end with hierarchical clustering
and deterministic annealing (crossbow).

@format
The library provides facilities for:
 *  Recursively descending directories, finding text files.
 *  Finding `document' boundaries when there are multiple docs per file.
 *  Tokenizing a text file, according to several different methods.
 *  Including N-grams among the tokens.
 *  Mapping strings to integers and back again, very efficiently.
 *  Building a sparse matrix of document/token counts.
 *  Pruning vocabulary by occurrence counts or by information gain.
 *  Building and manipulating word vectors.
 *  Setting word vector weights according to NaiveBayes, TFIDF, and a
     simple form of Probabilistic Indexing.
 *  Scoring queries for retrieval or classification.
 *  Writing all data structures to disk in a compact format.
 *  Reading the document/token matrix from disk in an efficient,
     sparse fashion.
 *  Performing test/train splits, and automatic classification tests.
 *  Operating in server mode, receiving and answering queries over a
     socket. 
@end format       
 
It is known to compile on most UNIX systems, including Linux, Solaris,
SUNOS, Irix and HPUX.  Six months ago, it compiled on WindowsNT (with
a GNU build environment); it would probably work again with little
effort.  Patches to the code are most welcome.

It is relatively efficient.  Reading, tokenizing and indexing the raw
text of 20,000 UseNet articles takes about 3 minutes.  Building a
naive Bayes classifier from 10,000 articles, and classifying the other
10,000 takes about 1 minute.

The code conforms to the GNU coding standards.  It is released under the
Library GNU Public License (LGPL).

@format
The library does not:
        Have parsing facilities.
        Do smoothing across N-gram models.
        Claim to be finished.
        Have good documentation.
        Claim to be bug-free.
        ...many other things.
@end format