A Comprehensive Benchmark Framework for Active Learning Methods in Entity Matching

Entity Matching (EM) is a core data cleaning task, aiming to identify different mentions of the same real-world entity. Active learning is one way to address the challenge of scarce labeled data in practice, by dynamically collecting the necessary examples to be labeled by an Oracle and refining the learned model (classifier) upon them. In this paper, we build a unified active learning benchmark framework for EM that allows users to easily combine different learning algorithms with applicable example selection algorithms. The goal of the framework is to enable concrete guidelines for practitioners as to what active learning combinations will work well for EM. Towards this, we perform comprehensive experiments on publicly available EM datasets from product and publication domains to evaluate active learning methods, using a variety of metrics including EM quality, #labels and example selection latencies. Our most surprising result finds that active learning with fewer labels can learn a classifier of comparable quality as supervised learning. In fact, for several of the datasets, we show that there is an active learning combination that beats the state-of-the-art supervised learning result. Our framework also includes novel optimizations that improve the quality of the learned model by roughly 9% in terms of F1-score and reduce example selection latencies by up to 10x without affecting the quality of the model.

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