While language Models store a massive amount of world knowledge implicitly in their parameters, even very large models often fail to encode information about rare entities and events, while incurring huge computational costs. Recently, retrieval-augmented models, such as REALM, RAG, and RETRO, have incorporated world knowledge into language generation by leveraging an external non-parametric index and have demonstrated impressive performance with constrained model sizes. However, these methods are restricted to retrieving only textual knowledge, neglecting the ubiquitous amount of knowledge in other modalities like images – much of which contains information not covered by any text. To address this limitation, we propose the first Multimodal Retrieval-Augmented Transformer (MuRAG), which accesses an external non-parametric multimodal memory to augment language generation. MuRAG is pre-trained with a mixture of large-scale image-text and text-only corpora using a joint contrastive and generative loss. We perform experiments on two different datasets that require retrieving and reasoning over both images and text to answer a given query: WebQA, and MultimodalQA. Our results show that MuRAG achieves state-of-the-art accuracy, outperforming existing models by 10-20% absolute on both datasets and under both distractor and full-wiki settings.
We analyze the grounded SCAN (gSCAN) benchmark, which was recently proposed to study systematic generalization for grounded language understanding. First, we study which aspects of the original benchmark can be solved by commonly used methods in multi-modal research. We find that a general-purpose Transformer-based model with cross-modal attention achieves strong performance on a majority of the gSCAN splits, surprisingly outperforming more specialized approaches from prior work. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that many of the remaining errors reveal the same fundamental challenge in systematic generalization of linguistic constructs regardless of visual context. Second, inspired by this finding, we propose challenging new tasks for gSCAN by generating data to incorporate relations between objects in the visual environment. Finally, we find that current models are surprisingly data inefficient given the narrow scope of commands in gSCAN, suggesting another challenge for future work.
We investigate ways to compose complex concepts in texts from primitive ones while grounding them in images. We propose Concept and Relation Graph (CRG), which builds on top of constituency analysis and consists of recursively combined concepts with predicate functions. Meanwhile, we propose a concept composition neural network called Composer to leverage the CRG for visually grounded concept learning. Specifically, we learn the grounding of both primitive and all composed concepts by aligning them to images and show that learning to compose leads to more robust grounding results, measured in text-to-image matching accuracy. Notably, our model can model grounded concepts forming at both the finer-grained sentence level and the coarser-grained intermediate level (or word-level). Composer leads to pronounced improvement in matching accuracy when the evaluation data has significant compound divergence from the training data.
Learning to follow instructions is of fundamental importance to autonomous agents for vision-and-language navigation (VLN). In this paper, we study how an agent can navigate long paths when learning from a corpus that consists of shorter ones. We show that existing state-of-the-art agents do not generalize well. To this end, we propose BabyWalk, a new VLN agent that is learned to navigate by decomposing long instructions into shorter ones (BabySteps) and completing them sequentially. A special design memory buffer is used by the agent to turn its past experiences into contexts for future steps. The learning process is composed of two phases. In the first phase, the agent uses imitation learning from demonstration to accomplish BabySteps. In the second phase, the agent uses curriculum-based reinforcement learning to maximize rewards on navigation tasks with increasingly longer instructions. We create two new benchmark datasets (of long navigation tasks) and use them in conjunction with existing ones to examine BabyWalk’s generalization ability. Empirical results show that BabyWalk achieves state-of-the-art results on several metrics, in particular, is able to follow long instructions better. The codes and the datasets are released on our project page: https://github.com/Sha-Lab/babywalk.
Learning to fuse vision and language information and representing them is an important research problem with many applications. Recent progresses have leveraged the ideas of pre-training (from language modeling) and attention layers in Transformers to learn representation from datasets containing images aligned with linguistic expressions that describe the images. In this paper, we propose learning representations from a set of implied, visually grounded expressions between image and text, automatically mined from those datasets. In particular, we use denotation graphs to represent how specific concepts (such as sentences describing images) can be linked to abstract and generic concepts (such as short phrases) that are also visually grounded. This type of generic-to-specific relations can be discovered using linguistic analysis tools. We propose methods to incorporate such relations into learning representation. We show that state-of-the-art multimodal learning models can be further improved by leveraging automatically harvested structural relations. The representations lead to stronger empirical results on downstream tasks of cross-modal image retrieval, referring expression, and compositional attribute-object recognition. Both our codes and the extracted denotation graphs on the Flickr30K and the COCO datasets are publically available on https://sha-lab.github.io/DG.
We study three general multi-task learning (MTL) approaches on 11 sequence tagging tasks. Our extensive empirical results show that in about 50% of the cases, jointly learning all 11 tasks improves upon either independent or pairwise learning of the tasks. We also show that pairwise MTL can inform us what tasks can benefit others or what tasks can be benefited if they are learned jointly. In particular, we identify tasks that can always benefit others as well as tasks that can always be harmed by others. Interestingly, one of our MTL approaches yields embeddings of the tasks that reveal the natural clustering of semantic and syntactic tasks. Our inquiries have opened the doors to further utilization of MTL in NLP.
Visual question answering (Visual QA) has attracted a lot of attention lately, seen essentially as a form of (visual) Turing test that artificial intelligence should strive to achieve. In this paper, we study a crucial component of this task: how can we design good datasets for the task? We focus on the design of multiple-choice based datasets where the learner has to select the right answer from a set of candidate ones including the target (i.e., the correct one) and the decoys (i.e., the incorrect ones). Through careful analysis of the results attained by state-of-the-art learning models and human annotators on existing datasets, we show that the design of the decoy answers has a significant impact on how and what the learning models learn from the datasets. In particular, the resulting learner can ignore the visual information, the question, or both while still doing well on the task. Inspired by this, we propose automatic procedures to remedy such design deficiencies. We apply the procedures to re-construct decoy answers for two popular Visual QA datasets as well as to create a new Visual QA dataset from the Visual Genome project, resulting in the largest dataset for this task. Extensive empirical studies show that the design deficiencies have been alleviated in the remedied datasets and the performance on them is likely a more faithful indicator of the difference among learning models. The datasets are released and publicly available via http://www.teds.usc.edu/website_vqa/.