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Is a 204 cm Man Tall or Small ? Acquisition of Numerical Common Sense from the Web

Katsuma Narisawa, Yotaro Watanabe, Junta Mizuno, Naoaki Okazaki and Kentaro Inui

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


This paper presents novel methods for modeling numerical common sense: the ability to infer whether a given number (e.g., three billion) is large, small, or normal for a given context (e.g., number of people facing a water shortage). We first discuss the necessity of numerical common sense in solving textual entailment problems. We explore two approaches for acquiring numerical common sense. Both approaches start with extracting numerical expressions and their context from the Web. One approach estimates the distribution of numbers co-occurring within a context and examines whether a given value is large, small, or normal, based on the distribution. Another approach utilizes textual patterns with which speakers explicitly expresses their judgment about the value of a numerical expression. Experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of both approaches.

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