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Acronym-meaning extraction from corpora using multitape weighted finite-state machines

Andre Kempe
The automatic extraction of acronyms and their meaning from corpora is an important sub-task of text mining. It can be seen as a special case of string alignment, where a text chunk is aligned with an acronym. Alternative alignments have different cost, and ideally the least costly one should give the correct meaning of the acronym. We show how this approach can be implemented by means of a 3-tape weighted finite-state machine (3-WFSM) which reads a text chunk on tape 1 and an acronym on tape 2, and generates all alternative alignments on tape 3. The 3-WFSM can be automatically generated from a simple regular expression. No additional algorithms are required at any stage. Our 3-WFSM has a size of 27 states and 64 transitions, and finds the best analysis of an acronym in a few milliseconds.
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