Department of Computer Science

Machine Learning Research Group

University of Texas at Austin Artificial Intelligence Lab

Publications: 2006

  1. Adaptive Blocking: Learning to Scale Up Record Linkage
    [Details] [PDF]
    Mikhail Bilenko, Beena Kamath, Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the Sixth IEEE International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM-06), 87--96, Hong Kong, December 2006.
    Many data mining tasks require computing similarity between pairs of objects. Pairwise similarity computations are particularly important in record linkage systems, as well as in clustering and schema mapping algorithms. Because the number of object pairs grows quadratically with the size of the dataset, computing similarity between all pairs is impractical and becomes prohibitive for large datasets and complex similarity functions. Blocking methods alleviate this problem by efficiently selecting approximately similar object pairs for subsequent distance computations, leaving out the remaining pairs as dissimilar. Previously proposed blocking methods require manually constructing an indexbased similarity function or selecting a set of predicates, followed by hand-tuning of parameters. In this paper, we introduce an adaptive framework for automatically learning blocking functions that are efficient and accurate. We describe two predicate-based formulations of learnable blocking functions and provide learning algorithms for training them. The effectiveness of the proposed techniques is demonstrated on real and simulated datasets, on which they prove to be more accurate than non-adaptive blocking methods.
    ML ID: 195
  2. Fast and Effective Worm Fingerprinting via Machine Learning
    [Details] [PDF]
    Stewart Yang, Jianping Song, Harish Rajamani, Taewon Cho, Yin Zhang and Raymond Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 3rd IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing (ICAC-2006), Dublin, Ireland, June 2006. Poster Session.
    As Internet worms become ever faster and more sophisticated, it is important to be able to extract worm signatures in an accurate and timely manner. In this paper, we apply machine learning to automatically fingerprint polymorphic worms, which are able to change their appearance across every instance. Using real Internet traces and synthetic polymorphic worms, we evaluated the performance of several advanced machine learning algorithms, including naive Bayes, decision-tree induction, rule learning (RIPPER), and support vector machines. The results are very promising. Compared with Polygraph, the state of the art in polymorphic worm fingerprinting, several machine learning algorithms are able to generate more accurate signatures, tolerate more noise in the training data, and require much shorter training time. These results open the possibility of applying machine learning to build a fast and accurate online worm fingerprinting system.
    ML ID: 194
  3. Learnable Similarity Functions and Their Application to Record Linkage and Clustering
    [Details] [PDF]
    Mikhail Bilenko
    PhD Thesis, Department of Computer Sciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, August 2006. 136 pages.
    Many machine learning and data mining tasks depend on functions that estimate similarity between instances. Similarity computations are particularly important in clustering and information integration applications, where pairwise distances play a central role in many algorithms. Typically, algorithms for these tasks rely on pre-defined similarity measures, such as edit distance or cosine similarity for strings, or Euclidean distance for vector-space data. However, standard distance functions are frequently suboptimal as they do not capture the appropriate notion of similarity for a particular domain, dataset, or application.

    In this thesis, we present several approaches for addressing this problem by employing learnable similarity functions. Given supervision in the form of similar or dissimilar pairs of instances, learnable similarity functions can be trained to provide accurate estimates for the domain and task at hand. We study the problem of adapting similarity functions in the context of several tasks: record linkage, clustering, and blocking. For each of these tasks, we present learnable similarity functions and training algorithms that lead to improved performance.

    In record linkage, also known as duplicate detection and entity matching, the goal is to identify database records referring to the same underlying entity. This requires estimating similarity between corresponding field values of records, as well as overall similarity between records. For computing field-level similarity between strings, we describe two learnable variants of edit distance that lead to improvements in linkage accuracy. For learning record-level similarity functions, we employ Support Vector Machines to combine similarities of individual record fields in proportion to their relative importance, yielding a high-accuracy linkage system. We also investigate strategies for efficient collection of training data which can be scarce due to the pairwise nature of the record linkage task.

    In clustering, similarity functions are essential as they determine the grouping of instances that is the goal of clustering. We describe a framework for integrating learnable similarity functions within a probabilistic model for semi-supervised clustering based on Hidden Markov Random Fields (HMRFs). The framework accommodates learning various distance measures, including those based on Bregman divergences (e.g., parameterized Mahalanobis distance and parameterized KL-divergence), as well as directional measures (e.g., cosine similarity). Thus, it is applicable to a wide range of domains and data representations. Similarity functions are learned within the HMRF-KMeans algorithm derived from the framework, leading to significant improvements in clustering accuracy.

    The third application we consider, blocking, is critical in making record linkage and clustering algorithms scalable to large datasets, as it facilitates efficient selection of approximately similar instance pairs without explicitly considering all possible pairs. Previously proposed blocking methods require manually constructing a similarity function or a set of similarity predicates, followed by hand-tuning of parameters. We propose learning blocking functions automatically from linkage and semi-supervised clustering supervision, which allows automatic construction of blocking methods that are efficient and accurate. This approach yields computationally cheap learnable similarity functions that can be used for scaling up in a variety of tasks that rely on pairwise distance computations, including record linkage and clustering.

    ML ID: 193
  4. Learning Language from Perceptual Context: A Challenge Problem for AI
    [Details] [PDF]
    Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 2006 AAAI Fellows Symposium, Boston, MA, July 2006.
    We present the problem of learning to understand natural language from examples of utterances paired only with their relevant real-world context as an important challenge problem for AI. Machine learning has been adopted as the most effective way of developing natural-language processing systems; however, currently, complex annotated corpora are required for training. By learning language from perceptual context, the need for laborious annotation is removed and the system's resulting understanding is grounded in its perceptual experience.
    ML ID: 192
  5. Using String-Kernels for Learning Semantic Parsers
    [Details] [PDF] [Slides]
    Rohit J. Kate and Raymond J. Mooney
    In ACL 2006: Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Computational Linguistics and the 44th annual meeting of the ACL, 913-920, Morristown, NJ, USA, 2006. Association for Computational Linguistics.
    We present a new approach for mapping natural language sentences to their formal meaning representations using string-kernel-based classifiers. Our system learns these classifiers for every production in the formal language grammar. Meaning representations for novel natural language sentences are obtained by finding the most probable semantic parse using these string classifiers. Our experiments on two real-world data sets show that this approach compares favorably to other existing systems and is particularly robust to noise.
    ML ID: 191
  6. Discriminative Reranking for Semantic Parsing
    [Details] [PDF]
    Ruifang Ge and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Computational Linguistics and 44th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (COLING/ACL-06), Sydney, Australia, July 2006.
    Semantic parsing is the task of mapping natural language sentences to complete formal meaning representations. The performance of semantic parsing can be potentially improved by using discriminative reranking, which explores arbitrary global features. In this paper, we investigate discriminative reranking upon a baseline semantic parser, SCISSOR, where the composition of meaning representations is guided by syntax. We examine if features used for syntactic parsing can be adapted for semantic parsing by creating similar semantic features based on the mapping between syntax and semantics. We report experimental results on two real applications, an interpreter for coaching instructions in robotic soccer and a natural-language database interface. The results show that reranking can improve the performance on the coaching interpreter, but not on the database interface.
    ML ID: 190
  7. Transfer Learning with Markov Logic Networks
    [Details] [PDF]
    Lilyana Mihalkova and Raymond Mooney
    In Proceedings of the ICML-06 Workshop on Structural Knowledge Transfer for Machine Learning, Pittsburgh, PA, June 2006.
    We propose a new algorithm for transfer learning of Markov Logic Network (MLN) structure. An important aspect of our approach is that it first diagnoses the provided source MLN and then focuses on re-learning only the incorrect portions. Experiments in a pair of synthetic domains demonstrate that this strategy significantly decreases the search space and speeds up learning while maintaining a level of accuracy comparable to that of the current best algorithm.
    ML ID: 189
  8. Integrating Co-occurrence Statistics with Information Extraction for Robust Retrieval of Protein Interactions from Medline
    [Details] [PDF]
    Razvan Bunescu, Raymond Mooney, Arun Ramani and Edward Marcotte
    In Proceedings of the HLT-NAACL Workshop on Linking Natural Language Processing and Biology (BioNLP'06), 49-56, New York, NY, June 2006.
    The task of mining relations from collections of documents is usually approached in two different ways. One type of systems do relation extraction from individual sentences, followed by an aggregation of the results over the entire collection. Other systems follow an entirely different approach, in which co-occurrence counts are used to determine whether the mentioning together of two entities is due to more than simple chance. We show that increased extraction performance can be obtained by combining the two approaches into an integrated relation extraction model.
    ML ID: 188
  9. Learning for Semantic Parsing with Statistical Machine Translation
    [Details] [PDF]
    Yuk Wah Wong and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Proceedings of Human Language Technology Conference / North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics Annual Meeting (HLT-NAACL-06), 439-446, New York City, NY, 2006.
    We present a novel statistical approach to semantic parsing, WASP, for constructing a complete, formal meaning representation of a sentence. A semantic parser is learned given a set of sentences annotated with their correct meaning representations. The main innovation of WASP is its use of state-of-the-art statistical machine translation techniques. A word alignment model is used for lexical acquisition, and the parsing model itself can be seen as a syntax-based translation model. We show that WASP performs favorably in terms of both accuracy and coverage compared to existing learning methods requiring similar amount of supervision, and shows better robustness to variations in task complexity and word order.
    ML ID: 187
  10. Using Encyclopedic Knowledge for Named Entity Disambiguation
    [Details] [PDF]
    Razvan Bunescu and Marius Pasca
    In Proceesings of the 11th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (EACL-06), 9-16, Trento, Italy, 2006.
    We present a new method for detecting and disambiguating named entities in open domain text. A disambiguation SVM kernel is trained to exploit the high coverage and rich structure of the knowledge encoded in an online encyclopedia. The resulting model significantly outperforms a less informed baseline.
    ML ID: 185
  11. Learning Semantic Parsers Using Statistical Syntactic Parsing Techniques
    [Details] [PDF]
    Ruifang Ge
    2006. Doctoral Dissertation Proposal, University of Texas at Austin" , year="2006.
    Most recent work on semantic analysis of natural language has focused on ``shallow'' semantics such as word-sense disambiguation and semantic role labeling. Our work addresses a more ambitious task we call semantic parsing where natural language sentences are mapped to complete formal meaning representations. We present our system Scissor based on a statistical parser that generates a semantically-augmented parse tree (SAPT), in which each internal node has both a syntactic and semantic label. A compositional-semantics procedure is then used to map the augmented parse tree into a final meaning representation. Training the system requires sentences annotated with augmented parse trees. We evaluate the system in two domains, a natural-language database interface and an interpreter for coaching instructions in robotic soccer. We present experimental results demonstrating that Scissor produces more accurate semantic representations than several previous approaches on long sentences.
    In the future, we intend to pursue several directions in developing more accurate semantic parsing algorithms and automating the annotation process. This work will involve exploring alternative tree representations for better generalization in parsing. We also plan to apply discriminative reranking methods to semantic parsing, which allows exploring arbitrary, potentially correlated features not usable by the baseline learner. We also propose to design a method for automating the SAPT-generation process to alleviate the extra annotation work currently required for training Scissor. Finally, we will investigate the impact of different statistical syntactic parsers on semantic parsing using the automated SAPT-generation process.
    ML ID: 184
  12. Fast and Effective Worm Fingerprinting via Machine Learning
    [Details] [PDF]
    Stewart Yang, Jianping Song, Harish Rajamani, Taewon Cho, Yin Zhang and Raymond Mooney
    Technical Report AI-06-335, Artificial Intelligence Lab, The University of Texas at Austin, August 2006. This is a longer version of our ICAC-2006 paper.
    As Internet worms become ever faster and more sophisticated, it is important to be able to extract worm signatures in an accurate and timely manner. In this paper, we apply machine learning to automatically fingerprint polymorphic worms, which are able to change their appearance across every instance. Using real Internet traces and synthetic polymorphic worms, we evaluated the performance of several advanced machine learning algorithms, including naive Bayes, decision-tree induction, rule learning, and support vector machines. The results are very promising. Compared with Polygraph, the state of the art in polymorphic worm fingerprinting, several machine learning algorithms are able to generate more accurate signatures, tolerate more noise in the training data, and require much shorter training time. These results open the possibility of applying machine learning to build a fast and accurate online worm fingerprinting system.
    ML ID: 183
  13. Probabilistic Semi-Supervised Clustering with Constraints
    [Details] [PDF]
    Sugato Basu, Mikhail Bilenko, Arindam Banerjee and Raymond J. Mooney
    In O. Chapelle and B. Sch{"{o}}lkopf and A. Zien, editors, Semi-Supervised Learning, Cambridge, MA, 2006. MIT Press.
    In certain clustering tasks it is possible to obtain limited supervision in the form of pairwise constraints, i.e., pairs of instances labeled as belonging to same or different clusters. The resulting problem is known as semi-supervised clustering, an instance of semi-supervised learning stemming from a traditional unsupervised learning setting. Several algorithms exist for enhancing clustering quality by using supervision in the form of constraints. These algorithms typically utilize the pairwise constraints to either modify the clustering objective function or to learn the clustering distortion measure. This chapter describes an approach that employs Hidden Markov Random Fields (HMRFs) as a probabilistic generative model for semi-supervised clustering, thereby providing a principled framework for incorporating constraint-based supervision into prototype-based clustering. The HMRF-based model allows the use of a broad range of clustering distortion measures, including Bregman divergences (e.g., squared Euclidean distance, KL divergence) and directional distance measures (e.g., cosine distance), making it applicable to a number of domains. The model leads to the HMRF-KMeans algorithm which minimizes an objective function derived from the joint probability of the model, and allows unification of constraint-based and distance-based semi-supervised clustering methods. Additionally, a two-phase active learning algorithm for selecting informative pairwise constraints in a query-driven framework is derived from the HMRF model, facilitating improved clustering performance with relatively small amounts of supervision from the user.
    ML ID: 176
  14. Subsequence Kernels for Relation Extraction
    [Details] [PDF]
    Razvan Bunescu and Raymond J. Mooney
    In Submitted to the Ninth Conference on Natural Language Learning (CoNLL-2005), Ann Arbor, MI, July 2006. Available at url{http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/ml/publication/ie.html}.
    We present a new kernel method for extracting semantic relations between entities in natural language text, based on a generalization of subsequence kernels. This kernel uses three types of subsequence patterns that are typically employed in natural language to assert relationships between two entities. Experiments on extracting protein interactions from biomedical corpora and top-level relations from newspaper corpora demonstrate the advantages of this approach.
    ML ID: 169
  15. Using Active Relocation to Aid Reinforcement Learning
    [Details] [PDF]
    Lilyana Mihalkova and Raymond Mooney
    In Prodeedings of the 19th International FLAIRS Conference (FLAIRS-2006), 580-585, Melbourne Beach, FL, May 2006.
    We propose a new framework for aiding a reinforcement learner by allowing it to relocate, or move, to a state it selects so as to decrease the number of steps it needs to take in order to develop an effective policy. The framework requires a minimal amount of human involvement or expertise and assumes a cost for each relocation. Several methods for taking advantage of the ability to relocate are proposed, and their effectiveness is tested in two commonly-used domains.
    ML ID: 166