Yuliang Li, Jinfeng Li, Yoshihiko Suhara, Jin Wang, Wataru Hirota, Wang-Chiew Tan
Entity matching refers to the task of determining whether two different representations refer to the same real-world entity. It continues to be a prevalent problem for many organizations where data resides in different sources and duplicates the need to be identified and managed. The term “entity matching” also loosely refers to the broader problem of determining whether two heterogeneous representations of different entities should be associated together. This problem has an even wider scope of applications, from determining the subsidiaries of companies to matching jobs to job seekers, which has impactful consequences.
In this article, we first report our recent system DITTO, which is an example of a modern entity matching system based on pretrained language models. Then we summarize recent solutions in applying deep learning and pre-trained language models for solving the entity matching task. Finally, we discuss research directions beyond entity matching, including the promise of synergistically integrating blocking and entity matching steps together, the need to examine methods to alleviate steep training data requirements that are typical of deep learning or pre-trained language models, and the importance of generalizing entity matching solutions to handle the broader entity matching problem, which leads to an even more pressing need to explain matching outcomes.