PiC: A Phrase-in-Context Dataset for Phrase Understanding and Semantic Search

EACL 2023

Published May 3, 2023

Thang Minh Pham, David Seunghyun Yoon, Trung Bui, Anh Nguyen

While contextualized word embeddings have been a de-facto standard, learning contextualized phrase embeddings is less explored and being hindered by the lack of a human-annotated benchmark that tests machine understanding of phrase semantics given a context sentence or paragraph (instead of phrases alone). To fill this gap, we propose PiC—a dataset of ∼28K of noun phrases accompanied by their contextual Wikipedia pages and a suite of three tasks for training and evaluating phrase embeddings. Training on PiC improves ranking-models’ accuracy and remarkably pushes span-selection (SS) models (i.e., predicting the start and end index of the target phrase) near human-accuracy, which is 95% Exact Match (EM) on semantic search given a query phrase and a passage. Interestingly, we find evidence that such im- pressive performance is because the SS mod- els learn to better capture the common mean- ing of a phrase regardless of its actual context. SotA models perform poorly—in distinguish- ing two senses of the same phrase in two con- texts (∼60% EM) and in estimating the similar- ity between two different phrases in the same context (∼70% EM).

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