Kazutoshi Shinoda


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Look to the Right: Mitigating Relative Position Bias in Extractive Question Answering
Kazutoshi Shinoda | Saku Sugawara | Akiko Aizawa
Proceedings of the Fifth BlackboxNLP Workshop on Analyzing and Interpreting Neural Networks for NLP

Extractive question answering (QA) models tend to exploit spurious correlations to make predictions when a training set has unintended biases. This tendency results in models not being generalizable to examples where the correlations do not hold. Determining the spurious correlations QA models can exploit is crucial in building generalizable QA models in real-world applications; moreover, a method needs to be developed that prevents these models from learning the spurious correlations even when a training set is biased. In this study, we discovered that the relative position of an answer, which is defined as the relative distance from an answer span to the closest question-context overlap word, can be exploited by QA models as superficial cues for making predictions. Specifically, we find that when the relative positions in a training set are biased, the performance on examples with relative positions unseen during training is significantly degraded. To mitigate the performance degradation for unseen relative positions, we propose an ensemble-based debiasing method that does not require prior knowledge about the distribution of relative positions. We demonstrate that the proposed method mitigates the models’ reliance on relative positions using the biased and full SQuAD dataset. We hope that this study can help enhance the generalization ability of QA models in real-world applications.


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Improving the Robustness of QA Models to Challenge Sets with Variational Question-Answer Pair Generation
Kazutoshi Shinoda | Saku Sugawara | Akiko Aizawa
Proceedings of the 59th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics and the 11th International Joint Conference on Natural Language Processing: Student Research Workshop

Question answering (QA) models for reading comprehension have achieved human-level accuracy on in-distribution test sets. However, they have been demonstrated to lack robustness to challenge sets, whose distribution is different from that of training sets. Existing data augmentation methods mitigate this problem by simply augmenting training sets with synthetic examples sampled from the same distribution as the challenge sets. However, these methods assume that the distribution of a challenge set is known a priori, making them less applicable to unseen challenge sets. In this study, we focus on question-answer pair generation (QAG) to mitigate this problem. While most existing QAG methods aim to improve the quality of synthetic examples, we conjecture that diversity-promoting QAG can mitigate the sparsity of training sets and lead to better robustness. We present a variational QAG model that generates multiple diverse QA pairs from a paragraph. Our experiments show that our method can improve the accuracy of 12 challenge sets, as well as the in-distribution accuracy.

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Can Question Generation Debias Question Answering Models? A Case Study on Question–Context Lexical Overlap
Kazutoshi Shinoda | Saku Sugawara | Akiko Aizawa
Proceedings of the 3rd Workshop on Machine Reading for Question Answering

Question answering (QA) models for reading comprehension have been demonstrated to exploit unintended dataset biases such as question–context lexical overlap. This hinders QA models from generalizing to under-represented samples such as questions with low lexical overlap. Question generation (QG), a method for augmenting QA datasets, can be a solution for such performance degradation if QG can properly debias QA datasets. However, we discover that recent neural QG models are biased towards generating questions with high lexical overlap, which can amplify the dataset bias. Moreover, our analysis reveals that data augmentation with these QG models frequently impairs the performance on questions with low lexical overlap, while improving that on questions with high lexical overlap. To address this problem, we use a synonym replacement-based approach to augment questions with low lexical overlap. We demonstrate that the proposed data augmentation approach is simple yet effective to mitigate the degradation problem with only 70k synthetic examples.


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Multi-style Generative Reading Comprehension
Kyosuke Nishida | Itsumi Saito | Kosuke Nishida | Kazutoshi Shinoda | Atsushi Otsuka | Hisako Asano | Junji Tomita
Proceedings of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics

This study tackles generative reading comprehension (RC), which consists of answering questions based on textual evidence and natural language generation (NLG). We propose a multi-style abstractive summarization model for question answering, called Masque. The proposed model has two key characteristics. First, unlike most studies on RC that have focused on extracting an answer span from the provided passages, our model instead focuses on generating a summary from the question and multiple passages. This serves to cover various answer styles required for real-world applications. Second, whereas previous studies built a specific model for each answer style because of the difficulty of acquiring one general model, our approach learns multi-style answers within a model to improve the NLG capability for all styles involved. This also enables our model to give an answer in the target style. Experiments show that our model achieves state-of-the-art performance on the Q&A task and the Q&A + NLG task of MS MARCO 2.1 and the summary task of NarrativeQA. We observe that the transfer of the style-independent NLG capability to the target style is the key to its success.