Hoifung Poon and Pedro Domingos

UW, Dept of Computer Science and Engineering

Joint Inference in Information Extraction

UW/Microsoft Symposium, 11/02/07

The goal of information extraction is to extract database records from text or semi-structured sources. Traditionally, information extraction proceeds by first segmenting each candidate record separately, and then merging records that refer to the same entities. While computationally efficient, this approach is suboptimal, because it ignores the fact that segmenting one candidate record can help to segment similar ones. For example, resolving a well-segmented field with a less-clear one can disambiguate the latter's boundaries. In this talk we propose a joint approach to information extraction, where segmentation of all records and entity resolution are performed together in a single integrated inference process. While a number of previous authors have taken steps in this direction (e.g., Pasula et al. (2003), Wellner et al. (2004)), to our knowledge this is the first fully joint approach. In experiments on the CiteSeer and Cora citation matching datasets, joint inference improved accuracy, and our approach outperformed previous ones. Further, by using Markov logic and the existing algorithms for it, our solution consisted mainly of writing the appropriate logical formulas, and required much less engineering than previous ones.

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