Hasso Plattner Institut
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Ralf Krestel

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Bringing Back Structure to Free Text Email Conversations with Recurrent Neural Networks


Email communication plays an integral part of everybody's life nowadays. Especially for business emails, extracting and analysing these communication networks can reveal interesting patterns of processes and decision making within a company. Fraud detection is another application area where precise detection of communication networks is essential. In this paper we present an approach based on recurrent neural networks to untangle email threads originating from forward and reply behaviour. We further classify parts of emails into 2 or 5 zones to capture not only header and body information but also greetings and signatures. We show that our deep learning approach outperforms state-of-the-art systems based on traditional machine learning and hand-crafted rules. Besides using the well-known Enron email corpus for our experiments, we additionally created a new annotated email benchmark corpus from Apache mailing lists.

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ECIR 2018

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