Using Particle Swarm Optimization to Accurately Identify Syntactic Phrases in Free Text

George Tambouratzis 1
  • 1 Dept. of Machine Translation, Institute for Language and Speech Processing / Athena Research Centre, , 151 25, Greece


The present article reviews the application of Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) algorithms to optimize a phrasing model, which splits any text into linguistically-motivated phrases. In terms of its functionality, this phrasing model is equivalent to a shallow parser. The phrasing model combines attractive and repulsive forces between neighbouring words in a sentence to determine which segmentation points are required. The extrapolation of phrases in the specific application is aimed towards the automatic translation of unconstrained text from a source language to a target language via a phrase-based system, and thus the phrasing needs to be accurate and consistent to the training data.

Experimental results indicate that PSO is effective in optimising the weights of the proposed parser system, using two different variants, namely sPSO and AdPSO. These variants result in statistically significant improvements over earlier phrasing results. An analysis of the experimental results leads to a proposed modification in the PSO algorithm, to prevent the swarm from stagnation, by improving the handling of the velocity component of particles. This modification results in more effective training sequences where the search for new solutions is extended in comparison to the basic PSO algorithm. As a consequence, further improvements are achieved in the accuracy of the phrasing module.

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