Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
Bilder vom Neuenheimer Feld, Heidelberg und der Universität Heidelberg
Siegel der Uni Heidelberg

SBERT studies Meaning Representations: Decomposing Sentence Embeddings into Explainable Semantic Features


Models based on large-pretrained language models, such as S(entence)BERT, provide effective and efficient sentence embeddings that show high correlation to human similarity ratings, but lack interpretability. On the other hand, graph metrics for graph-based meaning representations (e.g., Abstract Meaning Representation, AMR) can make explicit the semantic aspects in which two sentences are similar. However, such metrics tend to be slow, rely on parsers, and do not reach state-of-the-art performance when rating sentence similarity. In this work, we aim at the best of both worlds, by learning to induce Semantically Structured Sentence BERT embeddings (S3BERT). Our S3BERT embeddings are composed of explainable sub-embeddings that emphasize various semantic sentence features (e.g., semantic roles, negation, or quantification). We show how to i) learn a decomposition of the sentence embeddings into semantic features, through approximation of a suite of interpretable AMR graph metrics, and how to ii) preserve the overall power of the neural embeddings by controlling the decomposition learning process with a second objective that enforces consistency with the similarity ratings of an SBERT teacher model. In our experimental studies, we show that our approach offers interpretability -- while fully preserving the effectiveness and efficiency of the neural sentence embeddings.

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