World knowledge as indirect supervision for document clustering

Chenguang Wang, Yangqiu Song, Dan Roth, Ming Zhang, Jiawei Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One of the key obstacles in making learning protocols realistic in applications is the need to supervise them, a costly process that often requires hiring domain experts. We consider the framework to use the world knowledge as indirect supervision. World knowledge is general-purpose knowledge, which is not designed for any specific domain. Then, the key challenges are how to adapt the world knowledge to domains and how to represent it for learning. In this article, we provide an example of using world knowledge for domain-dependent document clustering. We provide three ways to specify the world knowledge to domains by resolving the ambiguity of the entities and their types, and represent the data with world knowledge as a heterogeneous information network. Then, we propose a clustering algorithm that can cluster multiple types and incorporate the sub-type information as constraints. In the experiments, we use two existing knowledge bases as our sources of world knowledge. One is Freebase, which is collaboratively collected knowledge about entities and their organizations. The other is YAGO2, a knowledge base automatically extracted from Wikipedia and maps knowledge to the linguistic knowledge base, WordNet. Experimental results on two text benchmark datasets (20newsgroups and RCV1) show that incorporating world knowledge as indirect supervision can significantly outperform the state-of-the-art clustering algorithms as well as clustering algorithms enhanced with world knowledge features. A preliminary version of this work appeared in the proceedings of KDD 2015 [Wang et al. 2015a]. This journal version has made several major improvements. First, we have proposed a new and general learning framework for machine learning with world knowledge as indirect supervision, where document clustering is a special case in the original paper. Second, in order to make our unsupervised semantic parsing method more understandable, we add several real cases from the original sentences to the resulting logic forms with all the necessary information. Third, we add details of the three semantic filtering methods and conduct deep analysis of the three semantic filters, by using case studies to show why the conceptualization-based semantic filter can produce more accurate indirect supervision. Finally, in addition to the experiment on 20 newsgroup data and Freebase, we have extended the experiments on clustering results by using all the combinations of text (20 newsgroup, MCAT, CCAT, ECAT) and world knowledge sources (Freebase, YAGO2).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13
JournalACM Transactions on Knowledge Discovery from Data
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2016


  • Document clustering
  • Heterogeneous information network
  • Knowledge base
  • Knowledge graph
  • World knowledge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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