Ontologue: Declarative Benchmark Construction for Ontological Multi-Label Classification

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 35 (NeurIPS 2022) Datasets and Benchmarks Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Sean Yang, Bernease Herman, Bill Howe


We describe a customizable benchmark for hierarchical and ontological multi-label classification, a task where labels are equipped with a graph structure and data items can be assigned multiple labels. We find that current benchmarks do not adequately represent the problem space, casting doubt on the generalizability of current results. We consider three dimensions of the problem space: context (availability of rich features on the data and labels), distribution of labels over data, and graph structure. For context, the lack of complex features on the labels (and in some cases, the data) artificially prevent the use of modern representation learning techniques as an appropriate baseline. For distribution, we find the long tail of labels over data constitute a few-shot learning problem that artificially confounds the results: for most common benchmarks, over 40% of the labels have fewer than 5 data points in the training set. For structure, we find that the correlation between performance and the height of the tree can explain some of the variation in performance, informing practical utility. In this paper, we demonstrate how the lack of diversity in benchmarks can confound performance analysis, then present a declarative query system called Ontologue for generating custom benchmarks with specific properties, then use this system to design 4 new benchmarks extracted from DBPedia that better represent the problem space. We evaluate state-of-the-art algorithms on both existing and new benchmarks and show that the performance conclusions can vary significantly depending on the dimensions we consider. We intend the system and derived benchmarks to improve the analysis of generalizability for these problems.