Smoothing the Geometry of Probabilistic Box Embeddings

Xiang Li, Luke Vilnis, Dongxu Zhang, Michael Boratko, Andrew McCallum

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: There is growing interest in geometrically-inspired embeddings for learning hierarchies, partial orders, and lattice structures, with natural applications to transitive relational data such as entailment graphs. Recent work has extended these ideas beyond deterministic hierarchies to probabilistically calibrated models, which enable learning from uncertain supervision and inferring soft-inclusions among concepts, while maintaining the geometric inductive bias of hierarchical embedding models. We build on the Box Lattice model of Vilnis et al. (2018), which showed promising results in modeling soft-inclusions through an overlapping hierarchy of sets, parameterized as high-dimensional hyperrectangles (boxes). However, the hard edges of the boxes present difficulties for standard gradient based optimization; that work employed a special surrogate function for the disjoint case, but we find this method to be fragile. In this work, we present a novel hierarchical embedding model, inspired by a relaxation of box embeddings into parameterized density functions using Gaussian convolutions over the boxes. Our approach provides an alternative surrogate to the original lattice measure that improves the robustness of optimization in the disjoint case, while also preserving the desirable properties with respect to the original lattice. We demonstrate increased or matching performance on WordNet hypernymy prediction, Flickr caption entailment, and a MovieLens-based market basket dataset. We show especially marked improvements in the case of sparse data, where many conditional probabilities should be low, and thus boxes should be nearly disjoint.
  • Keywords: embeddings, order embeddings, knowledge graph embedding, relational learning
  • TL;DR: Improve hierarchical embedding models using kernel smoothing
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