Jamaal Hay


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Yes, No or IDK: The Challenge of Unanswerable Yes/No Questions
Elior Sulem | Jamaal Hay | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

The Yes/No QA task (Clark et al., 2019) consists of “Yes” or “No” questions about a given context. However, in realistic scenarios, the information provided in the context is not always sufficient in order to answer the question. For example, given the context “She married a lawyer from New-York.”, we don’t know whether the answer to the question “Did she marry in New York?” is “Yes” or “No”. In this paper, we extend the Yes/No QA task, adding questions with an IDK answer, and show its considerable difficulty compared to the original 2-label task. For this purpose, we (i) enrich the BoolQ dataset (Clark et al., 2019) to include unanswerable questions and (ii) create out-of-domain test sets for the Yes/No/IDK QA task. We study the contribution of training on other Natural Language Understanding tasks. We focus in particular on Extractive QA (Rajpurkar et al., 2018) and Recognizing Textual Entailments (RTE; Dagan et al., 2013), analyzing the differences between 2 and 3 labels using the new data.


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Do We Know What We Don’t Know? Studying Unanswerable Questions beyond SQuAD 2.0
Elior Sulem | Jamaal Hay | Dan Roth
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2021

Understanding when a text snippet does not provide a sought after information is an essential part of natural language utnderstanding. Recent work (SQuAD 2.0; Rajpurkar et al., 2018) has attempted to make some progress in this direction by enriching the SQuAD dataset for the Extractive QA task with unanswerable questions. However, as we show, the performance of a top system trained on SQuAD 2.0 drops considerably in out-of-domain scenarios, limiting its use in practical situations. In order to study this we build an out-of-domain corpus, focusing on simple event-based questions and distinguish between two types of IDK questions: competitive questions, where the context includes an entity of the same type as the expected answer, and simpler, non-competitive questions where there is no entity of the same type in the context. We find that SQuAD 2.0-based models fail even in the case of the simpler questions. We then analyze the similarities and differences between the IDK phenomenon in Extractive QA and the Recognizing Textual Entailments task (RTE; Dagan et al., 2013) and investigate the extent to which the latter can be used to improve the performance.


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Benchmarking Zero-shot Text Classification: Datasets, Evaluation and Entailment Approach
Wenpeng Yin | Jamaal Hay | Dan Roth
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing and the 9th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing (EMNLP-IJCNLP)

Zero-shot text classification (0Shot-TC) is a challenging NLU problem to which little attention has been paid by the research community. 0Shot-TC aims to associate an appropriate label with a piece of text, irrespective of the text domain and the aspect (e.g., topic, emotion, event, etc.) described by the label. And there are only a few articles studying 0Shot-TC, all focusing only on topical categorization which, we argue, is just the tip of the iceberg in 0Shot-TC. In addition, the chaotic experiments in literature make no uniform comparison, which blurs the progress. This work benchmarks the 0Shot-TC problem by providing unified datasets, standardized evaluations, and state-of-the-art baselines. Our contributions include: i) The datasets we provide facilitate studying 0Shot-TC relative to conceptually different and diverse aspects: the “topic” aspect includes “sports” and “politics” as labels; the “emotion” aspect includes “joy” and “anger”; the “situation” aspect includes “medical assistance” and “water shortage”. ii) We extend the existing evaluation setup (label-partially-unseen) – given a dataset, train on some labels, test on all labels – to include a more challenging yet realistic evaluation label-fully-unseen 0Shot-TC (Chang et al., 2008), aiming at classifying text snippets without seeing task specific training data at all. iii) We unify the 0Shot-TC of diverse aspects within a textual entailment formulation and study it this way.