Task-Oriented Intrinsic Evaluation of Semantic Textual Similarity

Nils Reimers, Philip Beyer, Iryna Gurevych


Abstract
Semantic Textual Similarity (STS) is a foundational NLP task and can be used in a wide range of tasks. To determine the STS of two texts, hundreds of different STS systems exist, however, for an NLP system designer, it is hard to decide which system is the best one. To answer this question, an intrinsic evaluation of the STS systems is conducted by comparing the output of the system to human judgments on semantic similarity. The comparison is usually done using Pearson correlation. In this work, we show that relying on intrinsic evaluations with Pearson correlation can be misleading. In three common STS based tasks we could observe that the Pearson correlation was especially ill-suited to detect the best STS system for the task and other evaluation measures were much better suited. In this work we define how the validity of an intrinsic evaluation can be assessed and compare different intrinsic evaluation methods. Understanding of the properties of the targeted task is crucial and we propose a framework for conducting the intrinsic evaluation which takes the properties of the targeted task into account.
Anthology ID:
C16-1009
Volume:
Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers
Month:
December
Year:
2016
Address:
Osaka, Japan
Venue:
COLING
SIG:
Publisher:
The COLING 2016 Organizing Committee
Note:
Pages:
87–96
Language:
URL:
https://aclanthology.org/C16-1009
DOI:
Bibkey:
Cite (ACL):
Nils Reimers, Philip Beyer, and Iryna Gurevych. 2016. Task-Oriented Intrinsic Evaluation of Semantic Textual Similarity. In Proceedings of COLING 2016, the 26th International Conference on Computational Linguistics: Technical Papers, pages 87–96, Osaka, Japan. The COLING 2016 Organizing Committee.
Cite (Informal):
Task-Oriented Intrinsic Evaluation of Semantic Textual Similarity (Reimers et al., COLING 2016)
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PDF:
https://aclanthology.org/C16-1009.pdf