Task-dependent Optimal Weight Combinations for Static Embeddings


  • Nate Robinson Carnegie Mellon University
  • Nate Carlson Brigham Young University
  • David Mortensen Carnegie Mellon University
  • Elizabeth Vargas Brigham Young University
  • Thomas Fackrell Brigham Young University
  • Nancy Fulda Brigham Young University




A variety of NLP applications use word2vec skip-gram, GloVe, and fastText word embeddings. These models learn two sets of embedding vectors, but most practitioners use only one of them, or alternately an unweighted sum of both. This is the first study to systematically explore a range of linear combinations between the first and second embedding sets. We evaluate these combinations on a set of six NLP benchmarks including IR, POS-tagging, and sentence similarity. We show that the default embedding combinations are often suboptimal and demonstrate 1.0-8.0% improvements. Notably, GloVe’s default unweighted sum is its least effective combination across tasks. We provide a theoretical basis for weighting one set of embeddings more than the other according to the algorithm and task. We apply our findings to improve accuracy in applications of cross-lingual alignment and navigational knowledge by up to 15.2%.