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Shadow Cones: A Generalized Framework for Partial Order Embeddings

Tao Yu · Toni Liu · Albert Tseng · Christopher De Sa

Halle B #186
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Wed 8 May 7:30 a.m. PDT — 9:30 a.m. PDT


Hyperbolic space has proven to be well-suited for capturing hierarchical relations in data, such as trees and directed acyclic graphs. Prior work introduced the concept of entailment cones, which uses partial orders defined by nested cones in the Poincar\'e ball to model hierarchies. Here, we introduce the ``shadow cones" framework, a physics-inspired entailment cone construction. Specifically, we model partial orders as subset relations between shadows formed by a light source and opaque objects in hyperbolic space. The shadow cones framework generalizes entailment cones to a broad class of formulations and hyperbolic space models beyond the Poincar\'e ball. This results in clear advantages over existing constructions: for example, shadow cones possess better optimization properties over constructions limited to the Poincar\'e ball. Our experiments on datasets of various sizes and hierarchical structures show that shadow cones consistently and significantly outperform existing entailment cone constructions. These results indicate that shadow cones are an effective way to model partial orders in hyperbolic space, offering physically intuitive and novel insights about the nature of such structures.

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