Dung Thai


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Knowledge Informed Semantic Parsing for Conversational Question Answering
Raghuveer Thirukovalluru | Mukund Sridhar | Dung Thai | Shruti Chanumolu | Nicholas Monath | Sankaranarayanan Ananthakrishnan | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2021)

Smart assistants are tasked to answer various questions regarding world knowledge. These questions range from retrieval of simple facts to retrieval of complex, multi-hops question followed by various operators (i.e., filter, argmax). Semantic parsing has emerged as the state-of-the-art for answering these kinds of questions by forming queries to extract information from knowledge bases (KBs). Specially, neural semantic parsers (NSPs) effectively translate natural questions to logical forms, which execute on KB and give desirable answers. Yet, NSPs suffer from non-executable logical forms for some instances in the generated logical forms might be missing due to the incompleteness of KBs. Intuitively, knowing the KB structure informs NSP with changes of the global logical forms structures with respect to changes in KB instances. In this work, we propose a novel knowledge-informed decoder variant of NSP. We consider the conversational question answering settings, where a natural language query, its context and its final answers are available at training. Experimental results show that our method outperformed strong baselines by 1.8 F1 points overall across 10 types of questions of the CSQA dataset. Especially for the “Logical Reasoning” category, our model improves by 7 F1 points. Furthermore, our results are achieved with 90.3% fewer parameters, allowing faster training for large-scale datasets.

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Simultaneously Self-Attending to Text and Entities for Knowledge-Informed Text Representations
Dung Thai | Raghuveer Thirukovalluru | Trapit Bansal | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Representation Learning for NLP (RepL4NLP-2021)

Pre-trained language models have emerged as highly successful methods for learning good text representations. However, the amount of structured knowledge retained in such models, and how (if at all) it can be extracted, remains an open question. In this work, we aim at directly learning text representations which leverage structured knowledge about entities mentioned in the text. This can be particularly beneficial for downstream tasks which are knowledge-intensive. Our approach utilizes self-attention between words in the text and knowledge graph (KG) entities mentioned in the text. While existing methods require entity-linked data for pre-training, we train using a mention-span masking objective and a candidate ranking objective – which doesn’t require any entity-links and only assumes access to an alias table for retrieving candidates, enabling large-scale pre-training. We show that the proposed model learns knowledge-informed text representations that yield improvements on the downstream tasks over existing methods.

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Case-based Reasoning for Natural Language Queries over Knowledge Bases
Rajarshi Das | Manzil Zaheer | Dung Thai | Ameya Godbole | Ethan Perez | Jay Yoon Lee | Lizhen Tan | Lazaros Polymenakos | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

It is often challenging to solve a complex problem from scratch, but much easier if we can access other similar problems with their solutions — a paradigm known as case-based reasoning (CBR). We propose a neuro-symbolic CBR approach (CBR-KBQA) for question answering over large knowledge bases. CBR-KBQA consists of a nonparametric memory that stores cases (question and logical forms) and a parametric model that can generate a logical form for a new question by retrieving cases that are relevant to it. On several KBQA datasets that contain complex questions, CBR-KBQA achieves competitive performance. For example, on the CWQ dataset, CBR-KBQA outperforms the current state of the art by 11% on accuracy. Furthermore, we show that CBR-KBQA is capable of using new cases without any further training: by incorporating a few human-labeled examples in the case memory, CBR-KBQA is able to successfully generate logical forms containing unseen KB entities as well as relations.

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TABBIE: Pretrained Representations of Tabular Data
Hiroshi Iida | Dung Thai | Varun Manjunatha | Mohit Iyyer
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Existing work on tabular representation-learning jointly models tables and associated text using self-supervised objective functions derived from pretrained language models such as BERT. While this joint pretraining improves tasks involving paired tables and text (e.g., answering questions about tables), we show that it underperforms on tasks that operate over tables without any associated text (e.g., populating missing cells). We devise a simple pretraining objective (corrupt cell detection) that learns exclusively from tabular data and reaches the state-of-the-art on a suite of table-based prediction tasks. Unlike competing approaches, our model (TABBIE) provides embeddings of all table substructures (cells, rows, and columns), and it also requires far less compute to train. A qualitative analysis of our model’s learned cell, column, and row representations shows that it understands complex table semantics and numerical trends.


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Embedded-State Latent Conditional Random Fields for Sequence Labeling
Dung Thai | Sree Harsha Ramesh | Shikhar Murty | Luke Vilnis | Andrew McCallum
Proceedings of the 22nd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning

Complex textual information extraction tasks are often posed as sequence labeling or shallow parsing, where fields are extracted using local labels made consistent through probabilistic inference in a graphical model with constrained transitions. Recently, it has become common to locally parametrize these models using rich features extracted by recurrent neural networks (such as LSTM), while enforcing consistent outputs through a simple linear-chain model, representing Markovian dependencies between successive labels. However, the simple graphical model structure belies the often complex non-local constraints between output labels. For example, many fields, such as a first name, can only occur a fixed number of times, or in the presence of other fields. While RNNs have provided increasingly powerful context-aware local features for sequence tagging, they have yet to be integrated with a global graphical model of similar expressivity in the output distribution. Our model goes beyond the linear chain CRF to incorporate multiple hidden states per output label, but parametrizes them parsimoniously with low-rank log-potential scoring matrices, effectively learning an embedding space for hidden states. This augmented latent space of inference variables complements the rich feature representation of the RNN, and allows exact global inference obeying complex, learned non-local output constraints. We experiment with several datasets and show that the model outperforms baseline CRF+RNN models when global output constraints are necessary at inference-time, and explore the interpretable latent structure.