SFTM: Fast Comparison of Web Documents using Similarity-based Flexible Tree Matching

Sacha Brisset, Romain Rouvoy, Renaud Pawlak, Lionel Seinturier

Tree matching techniques have been investigated in many fields, including web data mining and extraction, as a key component to analyze the content of web documents, existing tree matching approaches, like Tree-Edit Distance (TED) or Flexible Tree Matching (FTM), fail to scale beyond a few hundreds of nodes, which is far below the average complexity of existing web online documents and applications. In this paper, we therefore propose a novel Similarity-based Flexible Tree Matching algorithm (SFTM), which is the first algorithm to enable tree matching on real-life web documents with practical computation times. In particular, we approach tree matching as an optimisation problem and we leverage node labels and local topology similarity in order to avoid any combinatorial explosion. Our practical evaluation demonstrates that our approach compares to the reference implementation of TED qualitatively, while improving the computation times by two orders of magnitude.

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