Lexical Disambiguation using Simulated Annealing

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Jim Cowie, Joe Guthrie, and Louise Guthrie. 1992. Lexical disambiguation using simulated annealing. In Proceedings of the 14th conference on Computational linguistics - Volume 1 (COLING '92), Vol. 1. Association for Computational Linguistics, Stroudsburg, PA, USA, 359-365. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3115/992066.992125


The resolution of lexical ambiguity is important for most natural language processing tasks, and a range of computational techniques have been proposed for its solution. None of these has yet proven effective on a large scale. In this paper, we describe a method for lexical disambiguation of text using the definitions in a machine-readable dictionary together with the technique of simulated annealing. The method operates on complete sentences and attempts to select the optimal combinations of word senses for all the words in the sentence simultaneously. The words in the sentences may be any of the 28,000 headwords in Longman's Dictionary of Contemporary English (LDOCE) and are disambiguated relative to the senses given in LDOCE. Our initial results on a sample set of 50 sentences are comparable to those of other researchers, and the fully automatic method requires no hand-coding of lexical entries, or hand-tagging of text.