Efficient Queries of Stand-off Annotations for Natural Language Processing on Electronic Medical Records
Author(s)Luo, Yuan; Szolovits, Peter
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In natural language processing, stand-off annotation uses the starting and ending positions of an annotation to anchor it to the text and stores the annotation content separately from the text. We address the fundamental problem of efficiently storing stand-off annotations when applying natural language processing on narrative clinical notes in electronic medical records (EMRs) and efficiently retrieving such annotations that satisfy position constraints. Efficient storage and retrieval of stand-off annotations can facilitate tasks such as mapping unstructured text to electronic medical record ontologies. We first formulate this problem into the interval query problem, for which optimal query/update time is in general logarithm. We next perform a tight time complexity analysis on the basic interval tree query algorithm and show its nonoptimality when being applied to a collection of 13 query types from Allen’s interval algebra. We then study two closely related state-of-the-art interval query algorithms, proposed query reformulations, and augmentations to the second algorithm. Our proposed algorithm achieves logarithmic time stabbing-max query time complexity and solves the stabbing-interval query tasks on all of Allen’s relations in logarithmic time, attaining the theoretic lower bound. Updating time is kept logarithmic and the space requirement is kept linear at the same time. We also discuss interval management in external memory models and higher dimensions.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Biomedical Informatics Insights
Libertas Academica, Ltd
Luo, and Peter Szolovits. “Efficient Queries of Stand-off Annotations for Natural Language Processing on Electronic Medical Records.” Biomedical Informatics Insights (2016): 29.
Final published version