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Accepted paper at EMNLP 2021

Time-dependent Entity Embedding is not All You Need: A Re-evaluation of Temporal Knowledge Graph Completion Models under a Unified Framework



Zhen Han, Gengyuan Zhang, Yunpu Ma, Volker Tresp


The 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP 2021),
07–11 November 2021, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic / Virtual


Various temporal knowledge graph (KG) completion models have been proposed in the recent literature. The models usually contain two parts, a temporal embedding layer and a score function derived from existing static KG modeling approaches. Since the approaches differ along several dimensions, including different score functions and training strategies, the individual contributions of different temporal embedding techniques to model performance are not always clear. In this work, we systematically study six temporal embedding approaches and empirically quantify their performance across a wide range of configurations with about 4000 experiments and 19000 GPU hours. We classify the temporal embeddings into two classes: (1) timestamp embeddings and (2) time-dependent entity embeddings. Despite the common belief that the latter is more expressive, an extensive experimental study shows that timestamp embeddings can achieve on-par or even better performance with significantly fewer parameters. Moreover, we find that when trained appropriately, the relative performance differences between various temporal embeddings often shrink and sometimes even reverse when compared to prior results. For example, TTransE (Leblay and Chekol, 2018), one of the first temporal KG models, can outperform more recent architectures on ICEWS datasets. To foster further research, we provide the first unified open-source framework for temporal KG completion models with full composability, where temporal embeddings, score functions, loss functions, regularizers, and the explicit modeling of reciprocal relations can be combined arbitrarily. [pdf]