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Health Informatics Master Student Thesis Presentation by Eric Newsom

Committee Members:

  • Dr. Josette Jones, RN, Ph.D., Chair

  • Dr. Roland E. Gamache, Jr., Ph.D.

  • Dr. Malika Mahoui, Ph.D.


An Exploratory Study Using the Predicate-Argument Structure to Develop Methodology for Measuring Semantic Similarity of Radiology Sentences 


The amount of information produced in the form of electronic free text in healthcare is increasing to levels incapable of being processed by humans. Information extraction (IE) is a sub-field of natural language processing with the goal of data reduction of unstructured free text. Pertinent to IE is an annotated corpus that frames how IE methods should create a logical expression necessary for processing meaning of text. Most annotation approaches seek to maximize meaning and knowledge by chunking sentences into phrases and mapping these phrases to a knowledge source to create a logical expression. However, these studies consistently have problems addressing semantics and none have addressed the issue of semantic similarity (or synonymy) to achieve data reduction. To achieve data reduction, a successful methodology is dependent on a framework that can represent currently popular phrasal methods of IE but also fully represent the sentence. This study explores and reports on the benefits, problems, and requirements to using the predicate-argument statement (PAS) as the framework. A convenient sample from a prior study with ten synsets of 100 unique sentences from radiology reports deemed by domain experts to mean the same thing will be the text from which PAS structures are formed.

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