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Title: Computing Optimal Alignments for the IBM-3 Translation Model
Full text: PDF
Authors: Schoenemann, Thomas
Editors: Sarkar, Anoop and Lapata , Mirella
Year: 2010
Document Type:Conference Paper
Conference: 14th Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning
Conference location: Uppsala, Sweden
Status: In Press
Refereed: Yes
BibTeX item:BibTeX
Abstract: Prior work on training the IBM-3 translation model is based on suboptimal methods for computing Viterbi alignments. In this paper, we present the first method guaranteed to produce globally optimal alignments. This not only results in improved alignments, it also gives us the opportunity to evaluate the quality of standard hillclimbing methods. Indeed, hillclimbing works reasonably well in practice but still fails to find the global optimum for between 2% and 12% of all sentence pairs and the probabilities can be several tens of orders of magnitude away from the Viterbi alignment. By reformulating the alignment problem as an Integer Linear Program, we can use standard machinery from global optimization theory to compute the solutions. We use the well-known branch-and-cut method, but also show how it can be customized to the specific problem discussed in this paper. In fact, a large number of alignments can be excluded from the start without losing global optimality.

 

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