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Open System Categorical Quantum Semantics in Natural Language Processing

Authors Robin Piedeleu, Dimitri Kartsaklis, Bob Coecke, Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh

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Robin Piedeleu
Dimitri Kartsaklis
Bob Coecke
Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh

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Robin Piedeleu, Dimitri Kartsaklis, Bob Coecke, and Mehrnoosh Sadrzadeh. Open System Categorical Quantum Semantics in Natural Language Processing. In 6th Conference on Algebra and Coalgebra in Computer Science (CALCO 2015). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 35, pp. 270-289, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2015)


Originally inspired by categorical quantum mechanics (Abramsky and Coecke, LiCS'04), the categorical compositional distributional model of natural language meaning of Coecke, Sadrzadeh and Clark provides a conceptually motivated procedure to compute the meaning of a sentence, given its grammatical structure within a Lambek pregroup and a vectorial representation of the meaning of its parts. Moreover, just like CQM allows for varying the model in which we interpret quantum axioms, one can also vary the model in which we interpret word meaning. In this paper we show that further developments in categorical quantum mechanics are relevant to natural language processing too. Firstly, Selinger's CPM-construction allows for explicitly taking into account lexical ambiguity and distinguishing between the two inherently different notions of homonymy and polysemy. In terms of the model in which we interpret word meaning, this means a passage from the vector space model to density matrices. Despite this change of model, standard empirical methods for comparing meanings can be easily adopted, which we demonstrate by a small-scale experiment on real-world data. Secondly, commutative classical structures as well as their non-commutative counterparts that arise in the image of the CPM-construction allow for encoding relative pronouns, verbs and adjectives, and finally, iteration of the CPM-construction, something that has no counterpart in the quantum realm, enables one to accommodate both entailment and ambiguity.
  • category theory
  • density matrices
  • distributional models
  • semantics


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