Pat Verga


pdf bib
Augmenting Pre-trained Language Models with QA-Memory for Open-Domain Question Answering
Wenhu Chen | Pat Verga | Michiel de Jong | John Wieting | William W. Cohen
Proceedings of the 17th Conference of the European Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics

Existing state-of-the-art methods for open-domain question-answering (ODQA) use an open book approach in which information is first retrieved from a large text corpus or knowledge base (KB) and then reasoned over to produce an answer. A recent alternative is to retrieve from a collection of previously-generated question-answer pairs; this has several practical advantages including being more memory and compute-efficient. Question-answer pairs are also appealing in that they can be viewed as an intermediate between text and KB triples: like KB triples, they often concisely express a single relationship, but like text, have much higher coverage than traditional KBs. In this work, we describe a new QA system that augments a text-to-text model with a large memory of question-answer pairs, and a new pre-training task for the latent step of question retrieval. The pre-training task substantially simplifies training and greatly improves performance on smaller QA benchmarks. Unlike prior systems of this sort, our QA system can also answer multi-hop questions that do not explicitly appear in the collection of stored question-answer pairs.

pdf bib
To Adapt or to Annotate: Challenges and Interventions for Domain Adaptation in Open-Domain Question Answering
Dheeru Dua | Emma Strubell | Sameer Singh | Pat Verga
Proceedings of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Volume 1: Long Papers)

Recent advances in open-domain question answering (ODQA) have demonstrated impressive accuracy on general-purpose domains like Wikipedia. While some work has been investigating how well ODQA models perform when tested for out-of-domain (OOD) generalization, these studies have been conducted only under conservative shifts in data distribution and typically focus on a single component (i.e., retriever or reader) rather than an end-to-end system. This work proposes a more realistic end-to-end domain shift evaluation setting covering five diverse domains. We not only find that end-to-end models fail to generalize but that high retrieval scores often still yield poor answer prediction accuracy. To address these failures, we investigate several interventions, in the form of data augmentations, for improving model adaption and use our evaluation set to elucidate the relationship between the efficacy of an intervention scheme and the particular type of dataset shifts we consider. We propose a generalizability test that estimates the type of shift in a target dataset without training a model in the target domain and that the type of shift is predictive of which data augmentation schemes will be effective for domain adaption. Overall, we find that these interventions increase end-to-end performance by up to ~24 points.


pdf bib
MuRAG: Multimodal Retrieval-Augmented Generator for Open Question Answering over Images and Text
Wenhu Chen | Hexiang Hu | Xi Chen | Pat Verga | William Cohen
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

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.

pdf bib
Faithful to the Document or to the World? Mitigating Hallucinations via Entity-Linked Knowledge in Abstractive Summarization
Yue Dong | John Wieting | Pat Verga
Findings of the Association for Computational Linguistics: EMNLP 2022

Existing abstractive summarization systems are hampered by content hallucinations in which models generate text that is not directly inferable from the source alone. Annotations from prior work have shown that some of these hallucinations, while being ‘unfaithful’ to the source, are nonetheless factual. Our analysis in this paper suggests that these factual hallucinations occur as a result of the prevalence of factual yet unfaithful entities in summarization datasets. We find that these entities are not aberrations, but instead examples of additional world knowledge being readily used to latently connect entities and concepts – in this case connecting entities in the source document to those in the target summary. In our analysis and experiments, we demonstrate that connecting entities to an external knowledge base can lend provenance to many of these unfaithful yet factual entities, and further, this knowledge can be used to improve the factuality of summaries without simply making them more extractive.


pdf bib
Adaptable and Interpretable Neural MemoryOver Symbolic Knowledge
Pat Verga | Haitian Sun | Livio Baldini Soares | William Cohen
Proceedings of the 2021 Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics: Human Language Technologies

Past research has demonstrated that large neural language models (LMs) encode surprising amounts of factual information: however, augmenting or modifying this information requires modifying a corpus and retraining, which is computationally expensive. To address this problem, we develop a neural LM that includes an interpretable neuro-symbolic KB in the form of a “fact memory”. Each element of the fact memory is formed from a triple of vectors, where each vector corresponds to a KB entity or relation. Our LM improves performance on knowledge-intensive question-answering tasks, sometimes dramatically, including a 27 point increase in one setting of WebQuestionsSP over a state-of-the-art open-book model, despite using 5% of the parameters. Most interestingly, we demonstrate that the model can be modified, without any re-training, by updating the fact memory.