Geometry of Polysemy

Jiaqi Mu, Suma Bhat, Pramod Viswanath

Nov 04, 2016 (modified: Feb 20, 2017) ICLR 2017 conference submission readers: everyone
  • Abstract: Vector representations of words have heralded a transformational approach to classical problems in NLP; the most popular example is word2vec. However, a single vector does not suffice to model the polysemous nature of many (frequent) words, i.e., words with multiple meanings. In this paper, we propose a three-fold approach for unsupervised polysemy modeling: (a) context representations, (b) sense induction and disambiguation and (c) lexeme (as a word and sense pair) representations. A key feature of our work is the finding that a sentence containing a target word is well represented by a low-rank subspace, instead of a point in a vector space. We then show that the subspaces associated with a particular sense of the target word tend to intersect over a line (one-dimensional subspace), which we use to disambiguate senses using a clustering algorithm that harnesses the Grassmannian geometry of the representations. The disambiguation algorithm, which we call $K$-Grassmeans, leads to a procedure to label the different senses of the target word in the corpus -- yielding lexeme vector representations, all in an unsupervised manner starting from a large (Wikipedia) corpus in English. Apart from several prototypical target (word,sense) examples and a host of empirical studies to intuit and justify the various geometric representations, we validate our algorithms on standard sense induction and disambiguation datasets and present new state-of-the-art results.
  • Keywords: Natural language processing
  • Conflicts: illinois.edu

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