Name discrimination by clustering similar contexts

Ted Pedersen, Amruta Purandare, Anagha Kulkarni

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


It is relatively common for different people or organizations to share the same name. Given the increasing amount of information available online, this results in the ever growing possibility of finding misleading or incorrect information due to confusion caused by an ambiguous name. This paper presents an unsupervised approach that resolves name ambiguity by clustering the instances of a given name into groups, each of which is associated with a distinct underlying entity. The features we employ to represent the context of an ambiguous name are statistically significant bigrams that occur in the same context as the ambiguous name. From these features we create a co-occurrence matrix where the rows and columns represent the first and second words in bigrams, and the cells contain their log-likelihood scores. Then we represent each of the contexts in which an ambiguous name appears with a second order context vector. This is created by taking the average of the vectors from the co-occurrence matrix associated with the words that make up each context. This creates a high dimensional "instance by word" matrix that is reduced to its most significant dimensions by Singular Value Decomposition (SVD). The different "meanings" of a name are discriminated by clustering these second order context vectors with the method of Repeated Bisections. We evaluate this approach by conflating pairs of names found in a large corpus of text to create ambiguous pseudo-names. We find that our method is significantly more accurate than the majority classifier, and that the best results are obtained by having a small amount of local context to represent the instance, along with a larger amount of context for identifying features, or vice versa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-237
Number of pages12
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science
StatePublished - 2005
Event6th International Conference, CICLing 2005 - Mexico City, Mexico
Duration: Feb 13 2005Feb 19 2005

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