Wikipedia-based Semantic Interpretation for Natural Language Processing

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Adequate representation of natural language semantics requires access to vast amounts of common sense and domain-specific world knowledge. Prior work in the field was based on purely statistical techniques that did not make use of background knowledge, on limited lexicographic knowledge bases such as WordNet, or on huge manual efforts such as the CYC project. Here we propose a novel method, called Explicit Semantic Analysis (ESA), for fine-grained semantic interpretation of unrestricted natural language texts. Our method represents meaning in a high-dimensional space of concepts derived from Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in existence. We explicitly represent the meaning of any text in terms of Wikipedia-based concepts. We evaluate the effectiveness of our method on text categorization and on computing the degree of semantic relatedness between fragments of natural language text. Using ESA results in significant improvements over the previous state of the art in both tasks. Importantly, due to the use of natural concepts, the ESA model is easy to explain to human users.


Overcoming the Brittleness Bottleneck using Wikipedia: Enhancing Text Categorization with Encyclopedic Knowledge

AAAI Conferences

When humans approach the task of text categorization, they interpret the specific wording of the document in the much larger context of their background knowledge and experience. On the other hand, state-of-the-art information retrieval systems are quite brittle--they traditionally represent documents as bags of words, and are restricted to learning from individual word occurrences in the (necessarily limited) training set. For instance, given the sentence "Wal-Mart supply chain goes real time", how can a text categorization system know that Wal-Mart manages its stock with RFID technology? And having read that "Ciprofloxacin belongs to the quinolones group", how on earth can a machine know that the drug mentioned is an antibiotic produced by Bayer? In this paper we present algorithms that can do just that. We propose to enrich document representation through automatic use of a vast compendium of human knowledge--an encyclopedia. We apply machine learning techniques to Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia to date, which surpasses in scope many conventional encyclopedias and provides a cornucopia of world knowledge. Each Wikipedia article represents a concept, and documents to be categorized are represented in the rich feature space of words and relevant Wikipedia concepts. Empirical results confirm that this knowledge-intensive representation brings text categorization to a qualitatively new level of performance across a diverse collection of datasets.


An Effective, Low-Cost Measure of Semantic Relatedness Obtained from Wikipedia Links

AAAI Conferences

This paper describes a new technique for obtaining measures of semantic relatedness. Like other recent approaches, it uses Wikipedia to provide structured world knowledge about the terms of interest. Our approach is unique in that it does so using the hyperlink structure of Wikipedia rather than its category hierarchy or textual content. Evaluation with manually defined measures of semantic relatedness reveals this to be an effective compromise between the ease of computation of the former approach and the accuracy of the latter.


Explicit Versus Latent Concept Models for Cross-Language Information Retrieval

AAAI Conferences

The field of information retrieval and text manipulation (classification, clustering) still strives for models allowing semantic information to be folded in to improve performance with respect to standard bag-of-word based models. Many approaches aim at a concept-based retrieval, but differ in the nature of the concepts, which range from linguistic concepts as defined in lexical resources such as WordNet, latent topics derived from the data itself—as in Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) or (Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA)—to Wikipedia articles as proxies for concepts, as in the recently proposed Explicit Semantic Analysis (ESA) model. A crucial question which has not been answered so far is whether models based on explicitly given concepts (as in the ESA model for instance) perform inherently better than retrieval models based on "latent" concepts (as in LSI and/or LDA). In this paper we investigate this question closer in the context of a cross-language setting, which inherently requires concept-based retrieval bridging between different languages. In particular, we compare the recently proposed ESA model with two latent models (LSI and LDA) showing that the former is clearly superior to the both. From a general perspective, our results contribute to clarifying the role of explicit vs. implicitly derived or latent concepts in (cross-language) information retrieval research.


Using Wiktionary for Computing Semantic Relatedness

AAAI Conferences

We introduce Wiktionary as an emerging lexical semantic resource that can be used as a substitute for expert-made resources in AI applications. We evaluate Wiktionary on the pervasive task of computing semantic relatedness for English and German by means of correlation with human rankings and solving word choice problems. For the first time, we apply a concept vector based measure to a set of different concept representations like Wiktionary pseudo glosses, the first paragraph of Wikipedia articles, English WordNet glosses, and GermaNet pseudo glosses. We show that: (i) Wiktionary is the best lexical semantic resource in the ranking task and performs comparably to other resources in the word choice task, and (ii) the concept vector based approach yields the best results on all datasets in both evaluations.