Knowledge and Information Systems

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 79–111 | Cite as

An efficient path computing model for measuring semantic similarity using edge and density

  • Xinhua Zhu
  • Fei LiEmail author
  • Hongchao Chen
  • Qi Peng
Regular Paper


The shortest path between two concepts in a taxonomic ontology is commonly used to represent the semantic distance between concepts in edge-based semantic similarity measures. In the past, edge counting, which is simple and intuitive and has low computational complexity, was considered the default method for path computation. However, a large lexical taxonomy, such as WordNet, has irregular link densities between concepts due to its broad domain, but edge counting-based path computation is powerless for this non-uniformity problem. In this paper, we advocate that the path computation can be separated from edge-based similarity measures and can form various general computing models. Therefore, to solve the problem of the non-uniformity of concept density in a large taxonomic ontology, we propose a new path computing model based on the compensation of local area density of concepts, which is equal to the number of direct hyponyms of the subsumers for concepts in the shortest path. This path model considers the local area density of concepts as an extension of the edge counting-based path according to the information theory. This model is a general path computing model and can be applied in various edge-based similarity approaches. The experimental results show that the proposed path model improves the average optimal correlation between edge-based measures and human judgments on the Miller and Charles benchmark for WordNet from less than 0.79 to more than 0.86, on the Pedersenet al. benchmark (average of both Physician and Coder) for SNOMED-CT from less than 0.75 to more than 0.82, and it has a large advantage in efficiency compared with information content computation in a dynamic ontology, thereby successfully improving the edge-based similarity measure as an excellent method with high performance and high efficiency.


Path computing model Semantic similarity Local density WordNet SNOMED-CT 



This work has been supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China under the Contract Numbers 61363036 and 61462010, and Guangxi Collaborative Innovation Center of Multi-source Information Integration and Intelligent Processing.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Guangxi Key Lab of Multi-source Information Mining and SecurityGuangxi Normal UniversityGuilinChina

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