Robustness Evaluation of Two CCG, a PCFG and a Link Grammar Parsers

Tuomo Kakkonen
Arxiv ID: 801.3817Last updated: 1/25/2008
Robustness in a parser refers to an ability to deal with exceptional phenomena. A parser is robust if it deals with phenomena outside its normal range of inputs. This paper reports on a series of robustness evaluations of state-of-the-art parsers in which we concentrated on one aspect of robustness: its ability to parse sentences containing misspelled words. We propose two measures for robustness evaluation based on a comparison of a parser's output for grammatical input sentences and their noisy counterparts. In this paper, we use these measures to compare the overall robustness of the four evaluated parsers, and we present an analysis of the decline in parser performance with increasing error levels. Our results indicate that performance typically declines tens of percentage units when parsers are presented with texts containing misspellings. When it was tested on our purpose-built test set of 443 sentences, the best parser in the experiment (C&C parser) was able to return exactly the same parse tree for the grammatical and ungrammatical sentences for 60.8%, 34.0% and 14.9% of the sentences with one, two or three misspelled words respectively.

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