This paper proposes a new architecture for textual inference in which finding a good alignment is separated from evaluating entailment. Current approaches to semantic inference in question answering and textual entailment have approximated the entailment problem as that of computing the best alignment of the hypothesis to the text, using a locally decomposable matching score. While this formulation is adequate for representing local (word-level) phenomena such as synonymy, it is incapable of representing global interactions, such as that between verb negation and the addition/removal of qualifiers, which are often critical for determining entailment. We propose a pipelined approach where alignment is followed by a classification step, in which we extract features representing high-level characteristics of the entailment problem, and pass the resulting feature vector to a statistical classifier trained on development data.
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