Statistical semantic processing using Markov logic
Meza-Ruiz, Ivan Vladimir
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Markov Logic (ML) is a novel approach to Natural Language Processing tasks [Richardson and Domingos, 2006; Riedel, 2008]. It is a Statistical Relational Learning language based on First Order Logic (FOL) and Markov Networks (MN). It allows one to treat a task as structured classification. In this work, we investigate ML for the semantic processing tasks of Spoken Language Understanding (SLU) and Semantic Role Labelling (SRL). Both tasks consist of identifying a semantic representation for the meaning of a given utterance/sentence. However, they differ in nature: SLU is in the field of dialogue systems where the domain is closed and language is spoken [He and Young, 2005], while SRL is for open domains and traditionally for written text [M´arquez et al., 2008]. Robust SLU is a key component of spoken dialogue systems. This component consists of identifying the meaning of the user utterances addressed to the system. Recent statistical approaches to SLU depend on additional resources (e.g., gazetteers, grammars, syntactic treebanks) which are expensive and time-consuming to produce and maintain. On the other hand, simple datasets annotated only with slot-values are commonly used in dialogue system development, and are easy to collect, automatically annotate, and update. However, slot-values leave out some of the fine-grained long distance dependencies present in other semantic representations. In this work we investigate the development of SLU modules with minimum resources with slot-values as their semantic representation. We propose to use the ML to capture long distance dependencies which are not explicitly available in the slot-value semantic representation. We test the adequacy of the ML framework by comparing against a set of baselines using state of the art approaches to semantic processing. The results of this research have been published in Meza-Ruiz et al. [2008a,b]. Furthermore, we address the question of scalability of the ML approach for other NLP tasks involving the identification of semantic representations. In particular, we focus on SRL: the task of identifying predicates and arguments within sentences, together with their semantic roles. The semantic representation built during SRL is more complex than the slot-values used in dialogue systems, in the sense that they include the notion of predicate/argument scope. SRL is defined in the context of open domains under the premises that there are several levels of extra resources (lemmas, POS tags, constituent or dependency parses). In this work, we propose a ML model of SRL and experiment with the different architectures we can describe for the model which gives us an insight into the types of correlations that the ML model can express [Riedel and Meza-Ruiz, 2008; Meza-Ruiz and Riedel, 2009]. Additionally, we tested our minimal resources setup in a state of the art dialogue system: the TownInfo system. In this case, we were given a small dataset of gold standard semantic representations which were system dependent, and we rapidly developed a SLU module used in the functioning dialogue system. No extra resources were necessary in order to reach state of the art results.