Borda-Based Voting Schemes
for Semantic Role Labeling
Vladimir Robles1,2, Antonio Molina2, and Paolo Rosso2
1Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, Cuenca, Calle Vieja 12-30, Ecuador
2ELiRF, DSIC, Universidad Politécnica de Valencia,
Valencia 46022, Camino de Vera s/n, Spain
Abstract. In this article, we have studied the possibility of applying Borda and
Fuzzy Borda voting schemes to combine semantic role labeling systems. To better
select the correct semantic role, among those provided by different experts, we
have introduced two measures: the first one calculates the overlap between labeled
sentences, whereas the second one adds different scoring levels depending on the
verbs that have been parsed.
Key words: Semantic role labeling, Borda voting schemes.
Previous studies shown that the semantic role labeling is a task that allows to improve
the performance of many Natural Language Processing (NLP) applications. A semantic
role is the underlying relationship between a syntactic constituent (consisting of a word
or sequence of words) and the main verb of a sentence. The role is the function that
assigns the predicate to its arguments. A clear example of what has been mentioned
is shown in the following sentence: “Hurricane-force winds demolished much of the
town”. If we review the sentence, it would have the following roles: [Hurricane-force
winds]cause demolished [much of the town]theme. The syntactic constituent “Hurricane-force
winds” is the cause that leads to a certain event, while “much of the town” constituent
represents the argument that undergoes a change of state. The main thematic roles are:
agent (argument that produces the action), experiencer (argument that is subjected to a
sensory, cognitive or emotional experience), container (argument that is good or bad in
a situation), location (argument representing sites), action (argument expressing some
dimension) and item (argument that undergoes a change of state).
The task of semantic role labeling has been studied from several machine learning
approaches, including the use of probabilistic and statistical techniques, such as
Maximum Entropy or Conditional Random Fields and methodologies based on artificial
intelligence such as Support Vector Machines. These methodologies depend on choosing
the relevant characteristics, representing information of various kinds: lexical, syntactic
and probabilistic, among other types .
In this paper we review the possibility of applying Borda and Fuzzy Borda voting
schemes , to determine the feasibility of combining various systems of semantic
274 TSD 2010 draft, version July 1, 2010, 5:03 P.M.
Petr Sojka, Aleš Horák, Ivan Kopeˇ cek and Karel Pala (Eds.): TSD 2010, LNAI 6231, pp. 185–192, 2010.
c ? Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010
186V. Robles, A. Molina, P. Rosso
role labeling. To accomplish this task we have worked with the data set published in
the shared task of the conference CoNLL 2005 (Conference on Computational Natural
Language Learning)3. We worked with the corpus tagged by the 5 best systems. We
defined two measures of analysis: the level of role overlapping and the role scoring tables
contained in each sentence.
The rest of the paper is organized as follows. In Section 2 we review the features
of the used corpus. The Borda voting scheme and its variant Fuzzy, and the possibility
of using it to combine two or more role labeling systems are described in Section 3. In
Section 4 we review the steps we used to combine the results generated by the CoNLL
2005 systems. In Section 5 we show the results and analyze them. Conclusion and future
work are described in Section 6.
2 Corpus CoNLL 2005
In CoNLL 2005, the corpus used is based on Section 02 - 21 (training), Section 24
(development) and Section 23 (test) of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). More precisely,
the corpus is based on PropBank 1.0, which is a part of the Penn Treebank with enriched
structures (predicate and argument). The corpus has different type of arguments, (i.e.,
Semantic Roles), Numbered Arguments (A0-A5, AA), Adjuntcs (AM-), References (R-),
and Verbs (V) .
In Table 1 we can see a list of the characteristics of the 5 best systems. The systems
are ordered by F-Measure. The table lists the name of participation of each system, as
well as precision, recall and F-Measure.
Table 1. The best five systems from the CoNLL 2005 competition
3 Borda Voting Schemes
The Borda voting schemes is a technique that has been used in several NLP tasks:
word sense disambiguation , geographical information retrieval , named entity
recognition . In this context, we consider that this methodology can improve the
performance of semantic role labeling by combining different systems. For example,
in this sentence of the tWSJ corpus: “As a result, the link between the futures and
stock markets ripped apart.”, the best CoNLL 2005 three labeling systems produce the
following results (Table 2):
Borda-Based Voting Schemes for Semantic Role Labeling187
Table 2. Comparison of labeling process performed by the systems S1, S2and S3
If we want to apply a Borda voting scheme, each system should provide a determined
amount of candidate roles for each sentence argument. In the example described in
Table 3, the role AM-CAU is assigned to the argument “As a result”4. This argument
must have been assigned to two or more candidate roles by each system. This allows the
creation of the necessary matrices to apply the Borda voting scheme.
We calculate the general voting results considering role AM-CAU as candidate1,
AM-LOC as candidate2 and AM-DIS as candidate3. For example, to calculate MS1, we
fill with 1 in row 1 and column 2 which indicates that the system prefers candidate1 than
candidate2. Doing so for all candidates and by filling 0 in the rest of positions, we obtain
the matrix. The final vote is the sum of the rows of systems matrices.
0 0 0
0 0 0
0 1 1
0 0 1
0 0 1
1 0 1
0 0 0
1 0 0
1 1 0
Table 3 shows the preference candidate order for each system and the general order
of the Borda voting scheme.
Table 3. Order of preference after applying Borda voting scheme
4To better illustrate our example, we add two candidate roles and we change the preference order
for every role in the system S2.
188V. Robles, A. Molina, P. Rosso
To apply a Fuzzy Borda voting scheme, we must add weights for each candidate role,
as is shown in Table 4.
Table 4. Preference order for roles labeled by each system, using weights
According to the Fuzzy Borda voting scheme, the element ri
the matrix MSifor the role labelling systems Si) can be calculated using the following
j,k(row j, column k of
Using Formula 1, and the weights from Table 4, we calculate the preference matrix
of Fuzzy Borda voting scheme:
0.45 0.48 0.50.47 0.39 0.5
The resulting preference order, from the Fuzzy Borda scheme, is shown in Table 5.
0.5 0.53 0.55
0.47 0.5 0.52
0.5 0.42 0.53
0.58 0.5 0.6
0.5 0.46 0.23
0.54 0.5 0.26
0.77 0.74 0.5
Table 5. Preference order after applying Fuzzy Borda voting scheme
As we have seen, if we do not have the number of candidates or alternatives required
by the Borda voting schemes, we can not apply them. We consider the following
– In order to create the Borda matrix, each system must label roles as part of a single
domain. Allsystems must assign the same candidate roles for each argument,ordered
according to their preference or weights.
– The verb and its meaning are the parameters that help us to define candidate roles,
which create the Borda matrix. Weights must be inferred from the level of precision,
recall or F-Measure of a system.
Borda-Based Voting Schemes for Semantic Role Labeling189
4 Overlapping and Scored Verb Analysis
The level of overlap is a measure that allows us to analyze the level of matching between
two or more role labeling systems. Therefore, high value of overlapping indicates that
the criteria of these systems is closer. This allows us to select those two systems that have
the greatest value of matching. The system that has the highest score of verb analysis is
To illustrate how we calculate the overlapping we took the sentence “’It screwed
things up,’ said one major specialist.” from tWSJ corpus and the roles proposed by the
systems S1and S2(Table 6).
Table 6. Sentence of corpus tWSJ labeled by the systems S1and S2
As shown in Table 6, for the analysis of the verb “screwed”, the system S2assigns A0
role to the constituent “It”, while the system S1does not. For the constituent “things”,
both systems agree to assign A1 as role. In this case, there is an overlapping in a single
argument. For the verb “said” there is a partial overlapping in A1 role, because for the
system S1the argument is made up of “It screwed things up” constituents, whereas the
system S2is made up of “screwed things up”. For the A0 role both systems assign the
same constituents. In this case, there is a partial overlap (A1) and a full overlap (A0).
To calculate the overlaps that occur in arguments consisting of a single constituent,
we assign a value of 1 and we add the other arguments that have a single constituent. For
the verb “screwed”, the overlapping value 1.
In the case of partial overlapping, we consider how many overlapping constituents of
an argument (CS) and how many constituents make up that argument (CF). To calculate
this value we have derived the following formula:
190 V. Robles, A. Molina, P. Rosso
– CSS1 and CSS2 represent the constituents that overlap in the labeled argument by the
systems S1and S2.
– CFS1 and CFS2 represent the constituents that make up the argument of the systems
– N is the total number of roles in the sentence.
The level of overlapping for the verb “said” is calculated as follows:
Overlap = overlapA0−Role+ overlapA1−Role.
4.2Scored Verb Analysis
To calculate this value we use a scoring system for each labeled role in a sentence. The
basis of this metric is the overall level of precision of each system for role labeling (recall
and F-Measure could also be used). For example, the system S1labels A0 roles with a
precision of 88.22%, recall of 87.88% and an F-Measure of 88.05.
Experiments were carried out using the precision values. By combining two or more
role labeling systems, we are expanding the coverage level that the system has. To
calculate the verb scores (Table 6), we obtain an average value of the precision that each
system has to label the arguments of a specific verb. For example, in the system S2, the
score of the verb “screwed” is calculated as follows: [0.8(precision of labeling the role
A0)+0.8 (precision of labeling the role A1)]/2=0.8.
For the verb “screwed”, the system S2has labeled two roles, while the system S1
has labeled a single role. Our system selects the labeled roles of systems S2and S1for
verbs “screwed” and “said”, respectively.
In this section we show the main results that were obtained after applying our voting
approach. We have used two schemes of overlapping and scoring, partial and complete
overlapping. The first scheme does not discard the arguments that do not completely
overlap. The second scheme discards those that do not have a complete overlapping (all
its constituents, similar to a simple voting scheme). In Figure 1 we see the number of
arguments correctly classified by each of the combinations that we have tested. The best
result is achieved combining all the systems with partial overlapping. Figure 1 shows the
roles that were misclassified and also those that the system was not able to classify. The
Borda-Based Voting Schemes for Semantic Role Labeling191
Fig.1. Roles properly labeled, misclassified and missing
combination that produces the best results, considering the two values together (roles
misclassified and non-tagged), is S1-S3-S4with partial overlapping.
In Figure 2 we observe precision, recall and F-Measure for all system combinations.
The combination that gets the best F-Measure value is S1-S3-S4with partial overlapping.
The precision is affected by the number of systems involved in the combination, because
not all the systems have optimal values of this measure.
Fig.2. Precision, recall and F-Measure of all system combinations
192V. Robles, A. Molina, P. Rosso Download full-text
In this paper we have established an alternative measure of combinations between
labeling systems, based on the Borda voting schemes. It has been shown that combining
two or more systems together, better results can be achieved.
When we combine too many labeling systems, the precision become lower if these
systems don not have similar values of precision. By contrast, the level of recall is
enriched by the diversity of labeling schemes. One factor that improves the measurement
of overlapping and especially the scored verb analysis, is to review the arguments that
must have each verb. The implementation of this factor will help decrease the amount of
roles that are misclassified or ignored.
As future work we propose to test scored verbs based on their level of matching
with the arguments in PropBank and FrameNet, to apply Linear Integer Programming
techniques which enrich the measurement process of overlapping and scored verb
analysis, and include in the calculation of overlapping the values of precision, recall and
F-Measure and verify their efficiency.
This work was partially funded by the TEXT-ENTERPRISE 2.0 TIN2009-13391-C04-03
and Telmosis PAID-06-08-3294 research projects.
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