Long Short Term Memory: Predict the Next Word

Siddharth M 26 Feb, 2024 • 8 min read


Predict next word LSTM(Natural language processing) has been an area of research and used widely in different applications. We often love texting each other and find that whenever we try to type a text a suggestion poops up trying to predict the next word we want to write. This process of prediction is one of the applications NLP deals with. We have made huge progress here and we can use Recurrent neural networks for such a process. There have been difficulties in basic RNN and you can find it here.

This article deals with how we can use a neural model better than a basic RNN and use it to predict the next word. We deal with a model called Long Short term Memory (LSTM).

“LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) is utilized for modeling long-term dependencies in sequential data or sequence of words , allowing it to capture and remember information over extended periods within a sequence.”

We can use the TensorFlow library in python for building and training the deep learning model.

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the Fundamentals of Long Short-Term Memory(LSTM) networks.
  • Learn to implement LSTM using TensorFlow and Keras.
  • Gain hands-on experience with code snippets for model building, training, and saving
  • Apply the LSTM model to do next word prediction in the provided sentences.

Why use LSTM?

Vanishing gradient descend is a problem faced by neural networks when we go for backpropagation as discussed here. It has a huge effect and the weight update process is widely affected and the model became useless. So, we used LSTM which has a hidden state and a memory cell with three gates that are forgotten, read, and input gate.

The following figure helps us understand how these gates work. The forget gate is mainly used to get good control of what information needs to be removed which isn’t necessary. Input gate makes sure that newer information is added to the cell and output makes sure what parts of the cell are output to the next hidden state. The sigmoid function used in each gate equation makes sure we can bring down the value to either a 0 or 1.

The exact model architecture of an LSTM is shown in this figure. Here, X is the word subscript t indicates that time instant. As we can see, c and h are input coming from an earlier time or the last step. We have the forget gate that controls the weights so that it can exactly know what information needs to be removed before going to the next gate. We use sigmoid here. The input I am added and some new information is written in the cell at that time instant. Finally, the output gate outputs the information that is given to the next LSTM cell.

Num of layers:

The number of layers in an LSTM network is a hyperparameter that can be tuned to improve the performance of the network. The number of layers determines the depth of the network, and a deeper network can learn more complex relationships in the data. However, a deeper network also requires more training data and can be more difficult to train.

Num of units:

The number of units in an LSTM layer is another hyperparameter that can be tuned to improve the performance of the network. The number of units determines the width of the network, and a wider network can learn more complex relationships in the data. However, a wider network also requires more training data and can be more difficult to train.

Prediction of next word

Till now we saw how an LSTM works and its architecture. Now comes the application part. Predicting the next word is a neural application that uses Recurrent neural networks. Since basic recurrent neural networks have a lot of flows we go for LSTM. Here we can make sure of having longer memory of what words are important with help of those three gates we saw earlier.

The following diagram tells us exactly what we are trying to deal with. What could be the next word? We will build a neural model to predict this. The dataset used is available here. I have followed this code from this tutorial.

1. Import the required libraries

We use TensorFlow with Keras for our model building. We can import the LSTM model from Keras and use it.  For different NLP tasks, we can use the NLTK library.

import numpy as np
import heapq
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt
from nltk.tokenize import RegexpTokenizer
from keras.models import Sequential, load_model
from keras.layers.core import Dense, Activation
from keras.layers import LSTM
from keras.preprocessing.sequence import pad_sequences
from keras.preprocessing.text import one_hot
from keras.preprocessing.text import Tokenizer
import pickle
from keras.optimizers import RMSprop

2. Read the dataset

We can check the length of the corpus by using the len function on text after reading and converting everything to lower case to avoid duplication of words.

path = 'data.txt'
text = open(path).read().lower()
print('length of the corpus is: :', len(text))
length of the corpus is: 581887

length of the corpus is: 581887

3.  Using tokenizers

The tokenizers are required so that we can split into each word and store them.

tokenizer = RegexpTokenizer(r'\w+')
words = tokenizer.tokenize(text)

4. Getting unique words

We get all the unique words and we require a dictionary with each word in the data within the list of unique words as the key and its significant portions as value.

tokenizer = Tokenizer()
unique_word_index = tokenizer.word_index

5. Feature Engineering

Feature engineering will make the words into numerical representation so that it is easy to process them.

prev_words = []
next_words = []
for i in range(len(words) - SEQUENCE_LENGTH):
    prev_words.append(words[i:i + SEQUENCE_LENGTH])
    next_words.append(words[i + SEQUENCE_LENGTH])

6. Storing features and labels

X will be used to get the features and Y to get the labels associated with them.

X = np.zeros((len(prev_words), SEQUENCE_LENGTH], len(unique_word_index)), dtype=bool)
Y = np.zeros((len(next_words), len(unique_word_index)), dtype=bool)
for i, each_words in enumerate(prev_words):
    for j, each_word in enumerate(each_words):
        X[i, j, unique_word_index[each_word]] = 1
    Y[i, unique_word_index[next_words[i]]] = 1

7. Building our model

We can see that we have built an LSTM model and used a softmax activation at the end to get few specific words predicted by the model. 

model = Sequential()
model.add(LSTM(128, input_shape=(SEQUENCE_LENGTH, len(unique_word_index))))

8. Model training

The model training uses RMSprop as the optimizer with a learning rate of 0.02 and uses categorical cross-entropy for loss function. With a batch size of 128 and a split of 0.5, we train our model. 

optimizer = RMSprop(lr=0.01)
model.compile(loss='categorical_crossentropy', optimizer=optimizer, metrics=['accuracy'])
history = model.fit(X, Y, validation_split=0.05, batch_size=128, epochs=2, shuffle=True).history

8. Saving model

The model is saved using the save function and loaded. 

pickle.dump(history, open("history.p", "wb"))
model = load_model('next_word_model.h5')
history = pickle.load(open("history.p", "rb"))

9. Evaluating the model

We can see the results of the models on evaluation.

plt.title('model accuracy')
plt.legend(['train', 'test'], loc='upper left')
plt.title('model loss')
plt.legend(['train', 'test'], loc='upper left')

10. Testing next word

These functions will help us to predict the next few words when we provide a sentence. 

def prepare_input(text):
    x = np.zeros((1, SEQUENCE_LENGTH, len(unique_word_index)))
    for t, word in enumerate(text):
        x[0, t, unique_word_index[word]] = 1
    return x

def sample(preds, top_n=3):
    preds = np.asarray(preds).astype('float64')
    preds = np.log(preds)
    exp_preds = np.exp(preds)
    preds = exp_preds / np.sum(exp_preds)
    return heapq.nlargest(top_n, range(len(preds)), preds.take)

def predict_completions(text, n=3):
    x = prepare_input(text)
    preds = model.predict(x, verbose=0)[0]
    next_indices = sample(preds, n)
    return [indices_char[idx] + predict_completion(text[1:] + indices_char[idx]) for idx in next_indices]

quotes = [
    "It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.",
    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger.",
    "I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.",
    "And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.",
    "It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!"

11. Predict the next word

for q in quotes:
    seq = q[:40].lower()
    print(predict_completions(seq, 5))

12. Result

The result will show us the words that can come next to the sentence we provided.

it is not a lack of love, but a lack of
['the ', 'an ', 'such ', 'man ', 'present, ']
that which does not kill us makes us str
['ength ', 'uggle ', 'ong ', 'ange ', 'ive ']
i'm not upset that you lied to me, i'm u
['nder ', 'pon ', 'ses ', 't ', 'uder ']
and those who were seen dancing were tho
['se ', 're ', 'ugh ', ' servated ', 't ']it is hard enough to remember my opinion
[' of ', 's ', ', ', 'nof ', 'ed ']


In summary, this article navigated the landscape of natural language processing, honing in on the predictive capabilities of Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks. By addressing challenges like vanishing gradient descent, LSTM emerges as a powerful solution for sequential data, demonstrated in predicting the next word within a sentence.

The hands-on implementation using TensorFlow and Keras equipped readers with practical insights, emphasizing key machine learning concepts such as encoding, word embeddings, and text data preprocessing. Algorithmic sophistication met practicality through n-grams, tokenization, and careful consideration of input length and word sequences.

LSTM’s role in capturing context and dependencies highlighted its prowess in sequence prediction tasks. The article’s journey through encoding, preprocessing, and leveraging machine learning tools underscores its relevance in today’s data-driven landscape. Ultimately, this exploration provides a concise yet comprehensive guide to LSTM’s application in predicting the next word, blending theoretical understanding with practical implementation. You can practice the given code in and article and upload on your github.

Key Takeaways

  1. The article focused on the application of Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks in natural language processing (NLP), particularly in predicting the next word in a given sequence.
  2. It highlighted the challenges faced by basic Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs), such as vanishing gradient descent, and explained how LSTM overcomes these issues with its hidden state and memory cell equipped with forget, read, and input gates.
  3. Detailed explanation of the architecture of LSTM, emphasizing the role of gates (forget, input, and output gates) in managing information flow and capturing long-term dependencies in sequential data.
  4. Saving the trained model and loading it for future use, ensuring that the model can be applied without retraining.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.Why is Adam ( optimization algorithm )that adapts the learning rate during training.the most popular optimizer in Deep Learning ?

A. Adam is popular due to its adaptive learning rate, efficient handling of sparse gradients, and combination of benefits from AdaGrad and RMSprop , leading to faster convergence.

Q2. What is the typical architecture of an LSTM network for next word prediction tasks ?

A. A typical LSTM architecture for next-word prediction consists of an embedding layer,one or more LSTM layers, and a dense layer with softmax activation for output prediction.

Q3. How does the bidirectional Lstm architecture enhance the performance of sequential data processing in comparison to unidirectional Lstm?

A. Bidirectional LSTM processes input sequences in both forward and backward directions, capturing contextual information from past and future. This enhances the model’s understanding of sequential patterns, making it effective for tasks like NLP and time series prediction.

Q4. How can the performance of a next word prediction model be evaluated?

A. Performance is evaluated using metrices like accuracy, perplexity, or cross-entropy, comparing predicted words with actual words in a held-out dataset.

Q5. Can transformers be used for next word prediction ?

A. Yes, transformers can be used for next word prediction. Transformers, particularly models like OpenAI’s GPT series, have demonstrated strong performance in natural language processing tasks, including next word prediction.

Siddharth M 26 Feb 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

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Responses From Readers


aaa 15 Mar, 2022

Dude, do you mind making sure that the code works before posting it?

Sanjana V
Sanjana V 02 Nov, 2022

Hi. Can you send us the "data.txt" file used in this prediction?

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