Ivano Lauriola


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Pre-Training Methods for Question Reranking
Stefano Campese | Ivano Lauriola | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the 18th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 2: Short Papers)

One interesting approach to Question Answering (QA) is to search for semantically similar questions, which have been answered before. This task is different from answer retrieval as it focuses on questions rather than only on the answers, therefore it requires different model training on different data.In this work, we introduce a novel unsupervised pre-training method specialized for retrieving and ranking questions. This leverages (i) knowledge distillation from a basic question retrieval model, and (ii) new pre-training task and objective for learning to rank questions in terms of their relevance with the query. Our experiments show that (i) the proposed technique achieves state-of-the-art performance on QRC and Quora-match datasets, and (ii) the benefit of combining re-ranking and retrieval models.


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QUADRo: Dataset and Models for QUestion-Answer Database Retrieval
Stefano Campese | Ivano Lauriola | Alessandro Moschitti
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2023

An effective approach to design automated Question Answering (QA) systems is to efficiently retrieve answers from pre-computed databases containing question/answer pairs. One of the main challenges to this design is the lack of training/testing data. Existing resources are limited in size and topics and either do not consider answers (question-question similarity only) or their quality in the annotation process. To fill this gap, we introduce a novel open-domain annotated resource to train and evaluate models for this task. The resource consists of 15,211 input questions. Each question is paired with 30 similar question/answer pairs, resulting in a total of 443,000 annotated examples. The binary label associated with each pair indicates the relevance with respect to the input question. Furthermore, we report extensive experimentation to test the quality and properties of our resource with respect to various key aspects of QA systems, including answer relevance, training strategies, and models input configuration.

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Accurate Training of Web-based Question Answering Systems with Feedback from Ranked Users
Liang Wang | Ivano Lauriola | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 5: Industry Track)

Recent work has shown that large-scale annotated datasets are essential for training state-of-the-art Question Answering (QA) models. Unfortunately, creating this data is expensive and requires a huge amount of annotation work. An alternative and cheaper source of supervision is given by feedback data collected from deployed QA systems. This data can be collected from tens of millions of user with no additional cost, for real-world QA services, e.g., Alexa, Google Home, and etc. The main drawback is the noise affecting feedback on individual examples. Recent literature on QA systems has shown the benefit of training models even with noisy feedback. However, these studies have multiple limitations: (i) they used uniform random noise to simulate feedback responses, which is typically an unrealistic approximation as noise follows specific patterns, depending on target examples and users; and (ii) they do not show how to aggregate feedback for improving training signals. In this paper, we first collect a large scale (16M) QA dataset with real feedback sampled from the QA traffic of a popular Virtual Assistant.Second, we use this data to develop two strategies for filtering unreliable users and thus de-noise feedback: (i) ranking users with an automatic classifier, and (ii) aggregating feedback over similar instances and comparing users between each other. Finally, we train QA models on our filtered feedback data, showing a significant improvement over the state of the art.


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FocusQA: Open-Domain Question Answering with a Context in Focus
Gianni Barlacchi | Ivano Lauriola | Alessandro Moschitti | Marco Del Tredici | Xiaoyu Shen | Thuy Vu | Bill Byrne | Adrià de Gispert
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

We introduce question answering with a cotext in focus, a task that simulates a free interaction with a QA system. The user reads on a screen some information about a topic, and they can follow-up with questions that can be either related or not to the topic; and the answer can be found in the document containing the screen content or from other pages. We call such information context. To study the task, we construct FocusQA, a dataset for answer sentence selection (AS2) with 12,165011unique question/context pairs, and a total of 109,940 answers. To build the dataset, we developed a novel methodology that takes existing questions and pairs them with relevant contexts. To show the benefits of this approach, we present a comparative analysis with a set of questions written by humans after reading the context, showing that our approach greatly helps in eliciting more realistic question/context pairs. Finally, we show that the task poses several challenges for incorporating contextual information. In this respect, we introduce strong baselines for answer sentence selection that outperform the precision of state-of-the-art models for AS2 up to 21.3% absolute points.

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Building a Dataset for Automatically Learning to Detect Questions Requiring Clarification
Ivano Lauriola | Kevin Small | Alessandro Moschitti
Proceedings of the Thirteenth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Question Answering (QA) systems aim to return correct and concise answers in response to user questions. QA research generally assumes all questions are intelligible and unambiguous, which is unrealistic in practice as questions frequently encountered by virtual assistants are ambiguous or noisy. In this work, we propose to make QA systems more robust via the following two-step process: (1) classify if the input question is intelligible and (2) for such questions with contextual ambiguity, return a clarification question. We describe a new open-domain clarification corpus containing user questions sampled from Quora, which is useful for building machine learning approaches to solving these tasks.


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DecOp: A Multilingual and Multi-domain Corpus For Detecting Deception In Typed Text
Pasquale Capuozzo | Ivano Lauriola | Carlo Strapparava | Fabio Aiolli | Giuseppe Sartori
Proceedings of the Twelfth Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

In recent years, the increasing interest in the development of automatic approaches for unmasking deception in online sources led to promising results. Nonetheless, among the others, two major issues remain still unsolved: the stability of classifiers performances across different domains and languages. Tackling these issues is challenging since labelled corpora involving multiple domains and compiled in more than one language are few in the scientific literature. For filling this gap, in this paper we introduce DecOp (Deceptive Opinions), a new language resource developed for automatic deception detection in cross-domain and cross-language scenarios. DecOp is composed of 5000 examples of both truthful and deceitful first-person opinions balanced both across five different domains and two languages and, to the best of our knowledge, is the largest corpus allowing cross-domain and cross-language comparisons in deceit detection tasks. In this paper, we describe the collection procedure of the DecOp corpus and his main characteristics. Moreover, the human performance on the DecOp test-set and preliminary experiments by means of machine learning models based on Transformer architecture are shown.