Estimation of semantic similarity and relatedness between biomedical concepts has utility for many informatics applications. Automated methods fall into two categories: methods based on distributional statistics drawn from text corpora, and methods using the structure of existing knowledge resources. Methods in the former category disregard taxonomic structure, while those in the latter fail to consider semantically relevant empirical information. In this paper, we present a method that retrofits distributional context vector representations of biomedical concepts using structural information from the UMLS Metathesaurus, such that the similarity between vector representations of linked concepts is augmented. We evaluated it on the UMNSRS benchmark. Our results demonstrate that retrofitting of concept vector representations leads to better correlation with human raters for both similarity and relatedness, surpassing the best results reported to date. They also demonstrate a clear improvement in performance on this reference standard for retrofitted vector representations, as compared to those without retrofitting.
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