Man Luo


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Choose Your QA Model Wisely: A Systematic Study of Generative and Extractive Readers for Question Answering
Man Luo | Kazuma Hashimoto | Semih Yavuz | Zhiwei Liu | Chitta Baral | Yingbo Zhou
Proceedings of the 1st Workshop on Semiparametric Methods in NLP: Decoupling Logic from Knowledge

While both extractive and generative readers have been successfully applied to the Question Answering (QA) task, little attention has been paid toward the systematic comparison of them. Characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of the two readers is crucial not only for making a more informed reader selection in practice but also for developing a deeper understanding to foster further research on improving readers in a principled manner. Motivated by this goal, we make the first attempt to systematically study the comparison of extractive and generative readers for question answering. To be aligned with the state-of-the-art, we explore nine transformer-based large pre-trained language models (PrLMs) as backbone architectures. Furthermore, we organize our findings under two main categories: (1) keeping the architecture invariant, and (2) varying the underlying PrLMs. Among several interesting findings, it is important to highlight that (1) the generative readers perform better in long context QA, (2) the extractive readers perform better in short context while also showing better out-of-domain generalization, and (3) the encoder of encoder-decoder PrLMs (e.g., T5) turns out to be a strong extractive reader and outperforms the standard choice of encoder-only PrLMs (e.g., RoBERTa). We also study the effect of multi-task learning on the two types of readers varying the underlying PrLMs and perform qualitative and quantitative diagnosis to provide further insights into future directions in modeling better readers.

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Neural Retriever and Go Beyond: A Thesis Proposal
Man Luo
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Student Research Workshop

Information Retriever (IR) aims to find the relevant documents (e.g. snippets, passages, and articles) to a given query at large scale. IR plays an important role in many tasks such as open domain question answering and dialogue systems, where external knowledge is needed. In the past, searching algorithms based on term matching have been widely used. Recently, neural-based algorithms (termed as neural retrievers) have gained more attention which can mitigate the limitations of traditional methods. Regardless of the success achieved by neural retrievers, they still face many challenges, e.g. suffering from a small amount of training data and failing to answer simple entity-centric questions. Furthermore, most of the existing neural retrievers are developed for pure-text query. This prevents them from handling multi-modality queries (i.e. the query is composed of textual description and images). This proposal has two goals. First, we introduce methods to address the abovementioned issues of neural retrievers from three angles, new model architectures, IR-oriented pretraining tasks, and generating large scale training data. Second, we identify the future research direction and propose potential corresponding solution.

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A Simple Approach to Jointly Rank Passages and Select Relevant Sentences in the OBQA Context
Man Luo | Shuguang Chen | Chitta Baral
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies: Student Research Workshop

In the open book question answering (OBQA) task, selecting the relevant passages and sentences from distracting information is crucial to reason the answer to a question. HotpotQA dataset is designed to teach and evaluate systems to do both passage ranking and sentence selection. Many existing frameworks use separate models to select relevant passages and sentences respectively. Such systems not only have high complexity in terms of the parameters of models but also fail to take the advantage of training these two tasks together since one task can be beneficial for the other one. In this work, we present a simple yet effective framework to address these limitations by jointly ranking passages and selecting sentences. Furthermore, we propose consistency and similarity constraints to promote the correlation and interaction between passage ranking and sentence selection.The experiments demonstrate that our framework can achieve competitive results with previous systems and outperform the baseline by 28% in terms of exact matching of relevant sentences on the HotpotQA dataset.

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Generalized but not Robust? Comparing the Effects of Data Modification Methods on Out-of-Domain Generalization and Adversarial Robustness
Tejas Gokhale | Swaroop Mishra | Man Luo | Bhavdeep Sachdeva | Chitta Baral
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: ACL 2022

Data modification, either via additional training datasets, data augmentation, debiasing, and dataset filtering, has been proposed as an effective solution for generalizing to out-of-domain (OOD) inputs, in both natural language processing and computer vision literature.However, the effect of data modification on adversarial robustness remains unclear.In this work, we conduct a comprehensive study of common data modification strategies and evaluate not only their in-domain and OOD performance, but also their adversarial robustness (AR).We also present results on a two-dimensional synthetic dataset to visualize the effect of each method on the training distribution.This work serves as an empirical study towards understanding the relationship between generalizing to unseen domains and defending against adversarial perturbations.Our findings suggest that more data (either via additional datasets or data augmentation) benefits both OOD accuracy and AR.However, data filtering (previously shown to improve OOD accuracy on natural language inference) hurts OOD accuracy on other tasks such as question answering and image classification.We provide insights from our experiments to inform future work in this direction.

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In-BoXBART: Get Instructions into Biomedical Multi-Task Learning
Mihir Parmar | Swaroop Mishra | Mirali Purohit | Man Luo | Murad Mohammad | Chitta Baral
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: NAACL 2022

Single-task models have proven pivotal in solving specific tasks; however, they have limitations in real-world applications where multi-tasking is necessary and domain shifts are exhibited. Recently, instructional prompts have shown significant improvement towards multi-task generalization; however, the effect of instructional prompts and Multi-Task Learning (MTL) has not been systematically studied in the biomedical domain. Motivated by this, this paper explores the impact of instructional prompts for biomedical MTL. We introduce the BoX, a collection of 32 instruction tasks for Biomedical NLP across (X) various categories. Using this meta-dataset, we propose a unified model termed as In-BoXBART, that can jointly learn all tasks of the BoX without any task-specific modules. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to propose a unified model in the biomedical domain and use instructions to achieve generalization across several biomedical tasks. Experimental results indicate that the proposed model: 1) outperforms single-task baseline by ~3% and multi-task (without instruction) baseline by ~18% on an average, and 2) shows ~23% improvement compared to single-task baseline in few-shot learning (i.e., 32 instances per task) on an average. Our analysis indicates that there is significant room for improvement across tasks in the BoX, implying the scope for future research direction.


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Weakly-Supervised Visual-Retriever-Reader for Knowledge-based Question Answering
Man Luo | Yankai Zeng | Pratyay Banerjee | Chitta Baral
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Knowledge-based visual question answering (VQA) requires answering questions with external knowledge in addition to the content of images. One dataset that is mostly used in evaluating knowledge-based VQA is OK-VQA, but it lacks a gold standard knowledge corpus for retrieval. Existing work leverage different knowledge bases (e.g., ConceptNet and Wikipedia) to obtain external knowledge. Because of varying knowledge bases, it is hard to fairly compare models’ performance. To address this issue, we collect a natural language knowledge base that can be used for any VQA system. Moreover, we propose a Visual Retriever-Reader pipeline to approach knowledge-based VQA. The visual retriever aims to retrieve relevant knowledge, and the visual reader seeks to predict answers based on given knowledge. We introduce various ways to retrieve knowledge using text and images and two reader styles: classification and extraction. Both the retriever and reader are trained with weak supervision. Our experimental results show that a good retriever can significantly improve the reader’s performance on the OK-VQA challenge. The code and corpus are provided in

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‘Just because you are right, doesn’t mean I am wrong’: Overcoming a bottleneck in development and evaluation of Open-Ended VQA tasks
Man Luo | Shailaja Keyur Sampat | Riley Tallman | Yankai Zeng | Manuha Vancha | Akarshan Sajja | Chitta Baral
Proceedings of the 16th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Main Volume

GQA (CITATION) is a dataset for real-world visual reasoning and compositional question answering. We found that many answers predicted by the best vision-language models on the GQA dataset do not match the ground-truth answer but still are semantically meaningful and correct in the given context. In fact, this is the case with most existing visual question answering (VQA) datasets where they assume only one ground-truth answer for each question. We propose Alternative Answer Sets (AAS) of ground-truth answers to address this limitation, which is created automatically using off-the-shelf NLP tools. We introduce a semantic metric based on AAS and modify top VQA solvers to support multiple plausible answers for a question. We implement this approach on the GQA dataset and show the performance improvements.