A Class of Submodular Functions for Document Summarization

  • Lin H
  • Bilmes J
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We design a class of submodular functions meant for document summarization tasks. These functions each combine two terms, one which encourages the summary to be representative of the corpus, and the other which positively rewards diversity. Critically, our functions are monotone nondecreasing and submodular, which means that an efficient scalable greedy optimization scheme has a constant factor guarantee of optimality. When evaluated on DUC 2004-2007 corpora, we obtain better than existing state-of-art results in both generic and query-focused document summarization. Lastly, we show that several well-established methods for document summarization correspond, in fact, to submodular function optimization, adding further evidence that submodular functions are a natural fit for document summarization.

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  • Hui Lin

  • Jeff Bilmes

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