We propose DrBoost, a dense retrieval ensemble inspired by boosting. DrBoost is trained in stages: each component model is learned sequentially and specialized by focusing only on retrieval mistakes made by the current ensemble. The final representation is the concatenation of the output vectors of all the component models, making it a drop-in replacement for standard dense retrievers at test time. DrBoost enjoys several advantages compared to standard dense retrieval models. It produces representations which are 4x more compact, while delivering comparable retrieval results. It also performs surprisingly well under approximate search with coarse quantization, reducing latency and bandwidth needs by another 4x. In practice, this can make the difference between serving indices from disk versus from memory, paving the way for much cheaper deployments.
Multilingual pre-trained models are known to suffer from the curse of multilinguality, which causes per-language performance to drop as they cover more languages. We address this issue by introducing language-specific modules, which allows us to grow the total capacity of the model, while keeping the total number of trainable parameters per language constant. In contrast with prior work that learns language-specific components post-hoc, we pre-train the modules of our Cross-lingual Modular (X-Mod) models from the start. Our experiments on natural language inference, named entity recognition and question answering show that our approach not only mitigates the negative interference between languages, but also enables positive transfer, resulting in improved monolingual and cross-lingual performance. Furthermore, our approach enables adding languages post-hoc with no measurable drop in performance, no longer limiting the model usage to the set of pre-trained languages.
In Dynamic Adversarial Data Collection (DADC), human annotators are tasked with finding examples that models struggle to predict correctly. Models trained on DADC-collected training data have been shown to be more robust in adversarial and out-of-domain settings, and are considerably harder for humans to fool. However, DADC is more time-consuming than traditional data collection and thus more costly per annotated example. In this work, we examine whether we can maintain the advantages of DADC, without incurring the additional cost. To that end, we introduce Generative Annotation Assistants (GAAs), generator-in-the-loop models that provide real-time suggestions that annotators can either approve, modify, or reject entirely. We collect training datasets in twenty experimental settings and perform a detailed analysis of this approach for the task of extractive question answering (QA) for both standard and adversarial data collection. We demonstrate that GAAs provide significant efficiency benefits with over a 30% annotation speed-up, while leading to over a 5x improvement in model fooling rates. In addition, we find that using GAA-assisted training data leads to higher downstream model performance on a variety of question answering tasks over adversarial data collection.
When primed with only a handful of training samples, very large, pretrained language models such as GPT-3 have shown competitive results when compared to fully-supervised, fine-tuned, large, pretrained language models. We demonstrate that the order in which the samples are provided can make the difference between near state-of-the-art and random guess performance: essentially some permutations are “fantastic” and some not. We analyse this phenomenon in detail, establishing that: it is present across model sizes (even for the largest current models), it is not related to a specific subset of samples, and that a given good permutation for one model is not transferable to another. While one could use a development set to determine which permutations are performant, this would deviate from the true few-shot setting as it requires additional annotated data. Instead, we use the generative nature of language models to construct an artificial development set and based on entropy statistics of the candidate permutations on this set, we identify performant prompts. Our method yields a 13% relative improvement for GPT-family models across eleven different established text classification tasks.
The extreme multi-label classification (XMC) task aims at tagging content with a subset of labels from an extremely large label set. The label vocabulary is typically defined in advance by domain experts and assumed to capture all necessary tags. However in real world scenarios this label set, although large, is often incomplete and experts frequently need to refine it. To develop systems that simplify this process, we introduce the task of open vocabulary XMC (OXMC): given a piece of content, predict a set of labels, some of which may be outside of the known tag set. Hence, in addition to not having training data for some labels–as is the case in zero-shot classification–models need to invent some labels on-thefly. We propose GROOV, a fine-tuned seq2seq model for OXMC that generates the set of labels as a flat sequence and is trained using a novel loss independent of predicted label order. We show the efficacy of the approach, experimenting with popular XMC datasets for which GROOV is able to predict meaningful labels outside the given vocabulary while performing on par with state-of-the-art solutions for known labels.
Prompting language models (LMs) with training examples and task descriptions has been seen as critical to recent successes in few-shot learning. In this work, we show that finetuning LMs in the few-shot setting can considerably reduce the need for prompt engineering. In fact, one can use null prompts, prompts that contain neither task-specific templates nor training examples, and achieve competitive accuracy to manually-tuned prompts across a wide range of tasks. While finetuning LMs does introduce new parameters for each downstream task, we show that this memory overhead can be substantially reduced: finetuning only the bias terms can achieve comparable or better accuracy than standard finetuning while only updating 0.1% of the parameters. All in all, we recommend finetuning LMs for few-shot learning as it is more accurate, robust to different prompts, and can be made nearly as efficient as using frozen LMs.
Pre-training on larger datasets with ever increasing model size isnow a proven recipe for increased performance across almost all NLP tasks.A notable exception is information retrieval, where additional pre-traininghas so far failed to produce convincing results. We show that, with theright pre-training setup, this barrier can be overcome. We demonstrate thisby pre-training large bi-encoder models on 1) a recently released set of 65 millionsynthetically generated questions, and 2) 200 million post-comment pairs from a preexisting dataset of Reddit conversations made available by pushshift.io.We evaluate on a set of information retrieval and dialogue retrieval benchmarks, showing substantial improvements over supervised baselines.
Recent work on Open Domain Question Answering has shown that there is a large discrepancy in model performance between novel test questions and those that largely overlap with training questions. However, it is unclear which aspects of novel questions make them challenging. Drawing upon studies on systematic generalization, we introduce and annotate questions according to three categories that measure different levels and kinds of generalization: training set overlap, compositional generalization (comp-gen), and novel-entity generalization (novel-entity). When evaluating six popular parametric and non-parametric models, we find that for the established Natural Questions and TriviaQA datasets, even the strongest model performance for comp-gen/novel-entity is 13.1/5.4% and 9.6/1.5% lower compared to that for the full test set – indicating the challenge posed by these types of questions. Furthermore, we show that whilst non-parametric models can handle questions containing novel entities relatively well, they struggle with those requiring compositional generalization. Lastly, we find that key question difficulty factors are: cascading errors from the retrieval component, frequency of question pattern, and frequency of the entity.
We investigate the dynamics of increasing the number of model parameters versus the number of labeled examples across a wide variety of tasks. Our exploration reveals that while scaling parameters consistently yields performance improvements, the contribution of additional examples highly depends on the task’s format. Specifically, in open question answering tasks, enlarging the training set does not improve performance. In contrast, classification, extractive question answering, and multiple choice tasks benefit so much from additional examples that collecting a few hundred examples is often “worth” billions of parameters. We hypothesize that unlike open question answering, which involves recalling specific information, solving strategies for tasks with a more restricted output space transfer across examples, and can therefore be learned with small amounts of labeled data.
Access to external knowledge is essential for many natural language processing tasks, such as question answering and dialogue. Existing methods often rely on a parametric model that stores knowledge in its parameters, or use a retrieval-augmented model that has access to an external knowledge source. Parametric and retrieval-augmented models have complementary strengths in terms of computational efficiency and predictive accuracy. To combine the strength of both approaches, we propose the Efficient Memory-Augmented Transformer (EMAT) – it encodes external knowledge into a key-value memory and exploits the fast maximum inner product search for memory querying. We also introduce pre-training tasks that allow EMAT to encode informative key-value representations, and to learn an implicit strategy to integrate multiple memory slots into the transformer. Experiments on various knowledge-intensive tasks such as question answering and dialogue datasets show that, simply augmenting parametric models (T5-base) using our method produces more accurate results (e.g., 25.8 → 44.3 EM on NQ) while retaining a high throughput (e.g., 1000 queries/s on NQ). Compared to retrieval-augmented models, EMAT runs substantially faster across the board and produces more accurate results on WoW and ELI5.
Existing work on Entity Linking mostly assumes that the reference knowledge base is complete, and therefore all mentions can be linked. In practice this is hardly ever the case, as knowledge bases are incomplete and because novel concepts arise constantly. We introduce the temporally segmented Unknown Entity Discovery and Indexing (EDIN)-benchmark where unknown entities, that is entities not part of the knowledge base and without descriptions and labeled mentions, have to be integrated into an existing entity linking system. By contrasting EDIN with zero-shot entity linking, we provide insight on the additional challenges it poses. Building on dense-retrieval based entity linking, we introduce the end-to-end EDIN-pipeline that detects, clusters, and indexes mentions of unknown entities in context. Experiments show that indexing a single embedding per entity unifying the information of multiple mentions works better than indexing mentions independently.
We present mGENRE, a sequence-to- sequence system for the Multilingual Entity Linking (MEL) problem—the task of resolving language-specific mentions to a multilingual Knowledge Base (KB). For a mention in a given language, mGENRE predicts the name of the target entity left-to-right, token-by-token in an autoregressive fashion. The autoregressive formulation allows us to effectively cross-encode mention string and entity names to capture more interactions than the standard dot product between mention and entity vectors. It also enables fast search within a large KB even for mentions that do not appear in mention tables and with no need for large-scale vector indices. While prior MEL works use a single representation for each entity, we match against entity names of as many languages as possible, which allows exploiting language connections between source input and target name. Moreover, in a zero-shot setting on languages with no training data at all, mGENRE treats the target language as a latent variable that is marginalized at prediction time. This leads to over 50% improvements in average accuracy. We show the efficacy of our approach through extensive evaluation including experiments on three popular MEL benchmarks where we establish new state-of-the-art results. Source code available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/GENRE.
Fact verification systems typically rely on neural network classifiers for veracity prediction, which lack explainability. This paper proposes ProoFVer, which uses a seq2seq model to generate natural logic-based inferences as proofs. These proofs consist of lexical mutations between spans in the claim and the evidence retrieved, each marked with a natural logic operator. Claim veracity is determined solely based on the sequence of these operators. Hence, these proofs are faithful explanations, and this makes ProoFVer faithful by construction. Currently, ProoFVer has the highest label accuracy and the second best score in the FEVER leaderboard. Furthermore, it improves by 13.21% points over the next best model on a dataset with counterfactual instances, demonstrating its robustness. As explanations, the proofs show better overlap with human rationales than attention-based highlights and the proofs help humans predict model decisions correctly more often than using the evidence directly.1
Despite recent progress, state-of-the-art question answering models remain vulnerable to a variety of adversarial attacks. While dynamic adversarial data collection, in which a human annotator tries to write examples that fool a model-in-the-loop, can improve model robustness, this process is expensive which limits the scale of the collected data. In this work, we are the first to use synthetic adversarial data generation to make question answering models more robust to human adversaries. We develop a data generation pipeline that selects source passages, identifies candidate answers, generates questions, then finally filters or re-labels them to improve quality. Using this approach, we amplify a smaller human-written adversarial dataset to a much larger set of synthetic question-answer pairs. By incorporating our synthetic data, we improve the state-of-the-art on the AdversarialQA dataset by 3.7F1 and improve model generalisation on nine of the twelve MRQA datasets. We further conduct a novel human-in-the-loop evaluation and show that our models are considerably more robust to new human-written adversarial examples: crowdworkers can fool our model only 8.8% of the time on average, compared to 17.6% for a model trained without synthetic data.
Abstract Open-domain Question Answering models that directly leverage question-answer (QA) pairs, such as closed-book QA (CBQA) models and QA-pair retrievers, show promise in terms of speed and memory compared with conventional models which retrieve and read from text corpora. QA-pair retrievers also offer interpretable answers, a high degree of control, and are trivial to update at test time with new knowledge. However, these models fall short of the accuracy of retrieve-and-read systems, as substantially less knowledge is covered by the available QA-pairs relative to text corpora like Wikipedia. To facilitate improved QA-pair models, we introduce Probably Asked Questions (PAQ), a very large resource of 65M automatically generated QA-pairs. We introduce a new QA-pair retriever, RePAQ, to complement PAQ. We find that PAQ preempts and caches test questions, enabling RePAQ to match the accuracy of recent retrieve-and-read models, whilst being significantly faster. Using PAQ, we train CBQA models which outperform comparable baselines by 5%, but trail RePAQ by over 15%, indicating the effectiveness of explicit retrieval. RePAQ can be configured for size (under 500MB) or speed (over 1K questions per second) while retaining high accuracy. Lastly, we demonstrate RePAQ’s strength at selective QA, abstaining from answering when it is likely to be incorrect. This enables RePAQ to “back-off” to a more expensive state-of-the-art model, leading to a combined system which is both more accurate and 2x faster than the state-of-the-art model alone.
Ideally Open-Domain Question Answering models should exhibit a number of competencies, ranging from simply memorizing questions seen at training time, to answering novel question formulations with answers seen during training, to generalizing to completely novel questions with novel answers. However, single aggregated test set scores do not show the full picture of what capabilities models truly have. In this work, we perform a detailed study of the test sets of three popular open-domain benchmark datasets with respect to these competencies. We find that 30% of test-set questions have a near-duplicate paraphrase in their corresponding train sets. In addition, we find that 60-70% of answers in the test sets are also present in the train sets. Using these findings, we evaluate a variety of popular open-domain models to obtain greater insight into what extent they can generalize, and what drives their overall performance. We find that all models perform substantially worse on questions that cannot be memorized from train sets, with a mean absolute performance difference of 61% between repeated and non-repeated data. Finally we show that simple nearest-neighbor models outperform a BART closed-book QA model, further highlighting the role that train set memorization plays in these benchmarks
Neural models have shown impressive performance gains in answering queries from natural language text. However, existing works are unable to support database queries, such as “List/Count all female athletes who were born in 20th century”, which require reasoning over sets of relevant facts with operations such as join, filtering and aggregation. We show that while state-of-the-art transformer models perform very well for small databases, they exhibit limitations in processing noisy data, numerical operations, and queries that aggregate facts. We propose a modular architecture to answer these database-style queries over multiple spans from text and aggregating these at scale. We evaluate the architecture using WikiNLDB, a novel dataset for exploring such queries. Our architecture scales to databases containing thousands of facts whereas contemporary models are limited by how many facts can be encoded. In direct comparison on small databases, our approach increases overall answer accuracy from 85% to 90%. On larger databases, our approach retains its accuracy whereas transformer baselines could not encode the context.
Structured information is an important knowledge source for automatic verification of factual claims. Nevertheless, the majority of existing research into this task has focused on textual data, and the few recent inquiries into structured data have been for the closed-domain setting where appropriate evidence for each claim is assumed to have already been retrieved. In this paper, we investigate verification over structured data in the open-domain setting, introducing a joint reranking-and-verification model which fuses evidence documents in the verification component. Our open-domain model achieves performance comparable to the closed-domain state-of-the-art on the TabFact dataset, and demonstrates performance gains from the inclusion of multiple tables as well as a significant improvement over a heuristic retrieval baseline.
Adaptive Computation (AC) has been shown to be effective in improving the efficiency of Open-Domain Question Answering (ODQA) systems. However, the current AC approaches require tuning of all model parameters, and training state-of-the-art ODQA models requires significant computational resources that may not be available for most researchers. We propose Adaptive Passage Encoder, an AC method that can be applied to an existing ODQA model and can be trained efficiently on a single GPU. It keeps the parameters of the base ODQA model fixed, but it overrides the default layer-by-layer computation of the encoder with an AC policy that is trained to optimise the computational efficiency of the model. Our experimental results show that our method improves upon a state-of-the-art model on two datasets, and is also more accurate than previous AC methods due to the stronger base ODQA model. All source code and datasets are available at https://github.com/uclnlp/APE.
Challenging problems such as open-domain question answering, fact checking, slot filling and entity linking require access to large, external knowledge sources. While some models do well on individual tasks, developing general models is difficult as each task might require computationally expensive indexing of custom knowledge sources, in addition to dedicated infrastructure. To catalyze research on models that condition on specific information in large textual resources, we present a benchmark for knowledge-intensive language tasks (KILT). All tasks in KILT are grounded in the same snapshot of Wikipedia, reducing engineering turnaround through the re-use of components, as well as accelerating research into task-agnostic memory architectures. We test both task-specific and general baselines, evaluating downstream performance in addition to the ability of the models to provide provenance. We find that a shared dense vector index coupled with a seq2seq model is a strong baseline, outperforming more tailor-made approaches for fact checking, open-domain question answering and dialogue, and yielding competitive results on entity linking and slot filling, by generating disambiguated text. KILT data and code are available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/KILT.
We introduce Dynabench, an open-source platform for dynamic dataset creation and model benchmarking. Dynabench runs in a web browser and supports human-and-model-in-the-loop dataset creation: annotators seek to create examples that a target model will misclassify, but that another person will not. In this paper, we argue that Dynabench addresses a critical need in our community: contemporary models quickly achieve outstanding performance on benchmark tasks but nonetheless fail on simple challenge examples and falter in real-world scenarios. With Dynabench, dataset creation, model development, and model assessment can directly inform each other, leading to more robust and informative benchmarks. We report on four initial NLP tasks, illustrating these concepts and highlighting the promise of the platform, and address potential objections to dynamic benchmarking as a new standard for the field.
Recent progress in pre-trained language models led to systems that are able to generate text of an increasingly high quality. While several works have investigated the fluency and grammatical correctness of such models, it is still unclear to which extent the generated text is consistent with factual world knowledge. Here, we go beyond fluency and also investigate the verifiability of text generated by state-of-the-art pre-trained language models. A generated sentence is verifiable if it can be corroborated or disproved by Wikipedia, and we find that the verifiability of generated text strongly depends on the decoding strategy. In particular, we discover a tradeoff between factuality (i.e., the ability of generating Wikipedia corroborated text) and repetitiveness. While decoding strategies such as top-k and nucleus sampling lead to less repetitive generations, they also produce less verifiable text. Based on these finding, we introduce a simple and effective decoding strategy which, in comparison to previously used decoding strategies, produces less repetitive and more verifiable text.
Current reading comprehension methods generalise well to in-distribution test sets, yet perform poorly on adversarially selected data. Prior work on adversarial inputs typically studies model oversensitivity: semantically invariant text perturbations that cause a model’s prediction to change. Here we focus on the complementary problem: excessive prediction undersensitivity, where input text is meaningfully changed but the model’s prediction does not, even though it should. We formulate an adversarial attack which searches among semantic variations of the question for which a model erroneously predicts the same answer, and with even higher probability. We demonstrate that models trained on both SQuAD2.0 and NewsQA are vulnerable to this attack, and then investigate data augmentation and adversarial training as defences. Both substantially decrease adversarial vulnerability, which generalises to held-out data and held-out attack spaces. Addressing undersensitivity furthermore improves model robustness on the previously introduced ADDSENT and ADDONESENT datasets, and models generalise better when facing train / evaluation distribution mismatch: they are less prone to overly rely on shallow predictive cues present only in the training set, and outperform a conventional model by as much as 10.9% F1.
Innovations in annotation methodology have been a catalyst for Reading Comprehension (RC) datasets and models. One recent trend to challenge current RC models is to involve a model in the annotation process: Humans create questions adversarially, such that the model fails to answer them correctly. In this work we investigate this annotation methodology and apply it in three different settings, collecting a total of 36,000 samples with progressively stronger models in the annotation loop. This allows us to explore questions such as the reproducibility of the adversarial effect, transfer from data collected with varying model-in-the-loop strengths, and generalization to data collected without a model. We find that training on adversarially collected samples leads to strong generalization to non-adversarially collected datasets, yet with progressive performance deterioration with increasingly stronger models-in-the-loop. Furthermore, we find that stronger models can still learn from datasets collected with substantially weaker models-in-the-loop. When trained on data collected with a BiDAF model in the loop, RoBERTa achieves 39.9F1 on questions that it cannot answer when trained on SQuAD—only marginally lower than when trained on data collected using RoBERTa itself (41.0F1).
Most approaches to Open-Domain Question Answering consist of a light-weight retriever that selects a set of candidate passages, and a computationally expensive reader that examines the passages to identify the correct answer. Previous works have shown that as the number of retrieved passages increases, so does the performance of the reader. However, they assume all retrieved passages are of equal importance and allocate the same amount of computation to them, leading to a substantial increase in computational cost. To reduce this cost, we propose the use of adaptive computation to control the computational budget allocated for the passages to be read. We first introduce a technique operating on individual passages in isolation which relies on anytime prediction and a per-layer estimation of an early exit probability. We then introduce SKYLINEBUILDER, an approach for dynamically deciding on which passage to allocate computation at each step, based on a resource allocation policy trained via reinforcement learning. Our results on SQuAD-Open show that adaptive computation with global prioritisation improves over several strong static and adaptive methods, leading to a 4.3x reduction in computation while retaining 95% performance of the full model.
Question answering (QA) models have shown rapid progress enabled by the availability of large, high-quality benchmark datasets. Such annotated datasets are difficult and costly to collect, and rarely exist in languages other than English, making building QA systems that work well in other languages challenging. In order to develop such systems, it is crucial to invest in high quality multilingual evaluation benchmarks to measure progress. We present MLQA, a multi-way aligned extractive QA evaluation benchmark intended to spur research in this area. MLQA contains QA instances in 7 languages, English, Arabic, German, Spanish, Hindi, Vietnamese and Simplified Chinese. MLQA has over 12K instances in English and 5K in each other language, with each instance parallel between 4 languages on average. We evaluate state-of-the-art cross-lingual models and machine-translation-based baselines on MLQA. In all cases, transfer results are shown to be significantly behind training-language performance.
Recent years have witnessed the burgeoning of pretrained language models (LMs) for text-based natural language (NL) understanding tasks. Such models are typically trained on free-form NL text, hence may not be suitable for tasks like semantic parsing over structured data, which require reasoning over both free-form NL questions and structured tabular data (e.g., database tables). In this paper we present TaBERT, a pretrained LM that jointly learns representations for NL sentences and (semi-)structured tables. TaBERT is trained on a large corpus of 26 million tables and their English contexts. In experiments, neural semantic parsers using TaBERT as feature representation layers achieve new best results on the challenging weakly-supervised semantic parsing benchmark WikiTableQuestions, while performing competitively on the text-to-SQL dataset Spider.
Most approaches to Open-Domain Question Answering consist of a light-weight retriever that selects a set of candidate passages, and a computationally expensive reader that examines the passages to identify the correct answer. Previous works have shown that as the number of retrieved passages increases, so does the performance of the reader. However, they assume all retrieved passages are of equal importance and allocate the same amount of computation to them, leading to a substantial increase in computational cost. To reduce this cost, we propose the use of adaptive computation to control the computational budget allocated for the passages to be read. We first introduce a technique operating on individual passages in isolation which relies on anytime prediction and a per-layer estimation of early exit probability. We then introduce SKYLINEBUILDER, an approach for dynamically deciding on which passage to allocate computation at each step, based on a resource allocation policy trained via reinforcement learning. Our results on SQuAD-Open show that adaptive computation with global prioritisation improves over several strong static and adaptive methods, leading to a 4.3x reduction in computation while retaining 95% performance of the full model.
This paper introduces a conceptually simple, scalable, and highly effective BERT-based entity linking model, along with an extensive evaluation of its accuracy-speed trade-off. We present a two-stage zero-shot linking algorithm, where each entity is defined only by a short textual description. The first stage does retrieval in a dense space defined by a bi-encoder that independently embeds the mention context and the entity descriptions. Each candidate is then re-ranked with a cross-encoder, that concatenates the mention and entity text. Experiments demonstrate that this approach is state of the art on recent zero-shot benchmarks (6 point absolute gains) and also on more established non-zero-shot evaluations (e.g. TACKBP-2010), despite its relative simplicity (e.g. no explicit entity embeddings or manually engineered mention tables). We also show that bi-encoder linking is very fast with nearest neighbor search (e.g. linking with 5.9 million candidates in 2 milliseconds), and that much of the accuracy gain from the more expensive cross-encoder can be transferred to the bi-encoder via knowledge distillation. Our code and models are available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/BLINK.
Fact checking at scale is difficult—while the number of active fact checking websites is growing, it remains too small for the needs of the contemporary media ecosystem. However, despite good intentions, contributions from volunteers are often error-prone, and thus in practice restricted to claim detection. We investigate how to increase the accuracy and efficiency of fact checking by providing information about the claim before performing the check, in the form of natural language briefs. We investigate passage-based briefs, containing a relevant passage from Wikipedia, entity-centric ones consisting of Wikipedia pages of mentioned entities, and Question-Answering Briefs, with questions decomposing the claim, and their answers. To produce QABriefs, we develop QABriefer, a model that generates a set of questions conditioned on the claim, searches the web for evidence, and generates answers. To train its components, we introduce QABriefDataset We show that fact checking with briefs — in particular QABriefs — increases the accuracy of crowdworkers by 10% while slightly decreasing the time taken. For volunteer (unpaid) fact checkers, QABriefs slightly increase accuracy and reduce the time required by around 20%.
Natural Language Inference (NLI) datasets contain annotation artefacts resulting in spurious correlations between the natural language utterances and their respective entailment classes. These artefacts are exploited by neural networks even when only considering the hypothesis and ignoring the premise, leading to unwanted biases. Belinkov et al. (2019b) proposed tackling this problem via adversarial training, but this can lead to learned sentence representations that still suffer from the same biases. We show that the bias can be reduced in the sentence representations by using an ensemble of adversaries, encouraging the model to jointly decrease the accuracy of these different adversaries while fitting the data. This approach produces more robust NLI models, outperforming previous de-biasing efforts when generalised to 12 other NLI datasets (Belinkov et al., 2019a; Mahabadi et al., 2020). In addition, we find that the optimal number of adversarial classifiers depends on the dimensionality of the sentence representations, with larger sentence representations being more difficult to de-bias while benefiting from using a greater number of adversaries.
Tracking progress in machine learning has become increasingly difficult with the recent explosion in the number of papers. In this paper, we present AxCell, an automatic machine learning pipeline for extracting results from papers. AxCell uses several novel components, including a table segmentation subtask, to learn relevant structural knowledge that aids extraction. When compared with existing methods, our approach significantly improves the state of the art for results extraction. We also release a structured, annotated dataset for training models for results extraction, and a dataset for evaluating the performance of models on this task. Lastly, we show the viability of our approach enables it to be used for semi-automated results extraction in production, suggesting our improvements make this task practically viable for the first time. Code is available on GitHub.
Recent approaches to question generation have used modifications to a Seq2Seq architecture inspired by advances in machine translation. Models are trained using teacher forcing to optimise only the one-step-ahead prediction. However, at test time, the model is asked to generate a whole sequence, causing errors to propagate through the generation process (exposure bias). A number of authors have suggested that optimising for rewards less tightly coupled to the training data might counter this mismatch. We therefore optimise directly for various objectives beyond simply replicating the ground truth questions, including a novel approach using an adversarial discriminator that seeks to generate questions that are indistinguishable from real examples. We confirm that training with policy gradient methods leads to increases in the metrics used as rewards. We perform a human evaluation, and show that although these metrics have previously been assumed to be good proxies for question quality, they are poorly aligned with human judgement and the model simply learns to exploit the weaknesses of the reward source.
Obtaining training data for Question Answering (QA) is time-consuming and resource-intensive, and existing QA datasets are only available for limited domains and languages. In this work, we explore to what extent high quality training data is actually required for Extractive QA, and investigate the possibility of unsupervised Extractive QA. We approach this problem by first learning to generate context, question and answer triples in an unsupervised manner, which we then use to synthesize Extractive QA training data automatically. To generate such triples, we first sample random context paragraphs from a large corpus of documents and then random noun phrases or Named Entity mentions from these paragraphs as answers. Next we convert answers in context to “fill-in-the-blank” cloze questions and finally translate them into natural questions. We propose and compare various unsupervised ways to perform cloze-to-natural question translation, including training an unsupervised NMT model using non-aligned corpora of natural questions and cloze questions as well as a rule-based approach. We find that modern QA models can learn to answer human questions surprisingly well using only synthetic training data. We demonstrate that, without using the SQuAD training data at all, our approach achieves 56.4 F1 on SQuAD v1 (64.5 F1 when the answer is a Named Entity mention), outperforming early supervised models.
Recent progress in pretraining language models on large textual corpora led to a surge of improvements for downstream NLP tasks. Whilst learning linguistic knowledge, these models may also be storing relational knowledge present in the training data, and may be able to answer queries structured as “fill-in-the-blank” cloze statements. Language models have many advantages over structured knowledge bases: they require no schema engineering, allow practitioners to query about an open class of relations, are easy to extend to more data, and require no human supervision to train. We present an in-depth analysis of the relational knowledge already present (without fine-tuning) in a wide range of state-of-the-art pretrained language models. We find that (i) without fine-tuning, BERT contains relational knowledge competitive with traditional NLP methods that have some access to oracle knowledge, (ii) BERT also does remarkably well on open-domain question answering against a supervised baseline, and (iii) certain types of factual knowledge are learned much more readily than others by standard language model pretraining approaches. The surprisingly strong ability of these models to recall factual knowledge without any fine-tuning demonstrates their potential as unsupervised open-domain QA systems. The code to reproduce our analysis is available at https://github.com/facebookresearch/LAMA.
Most Reading Comprehension methods limit themselves to queries which can be answered using a single sentence, paragraph, or document. Enabling models to combine disjoint pieces of textual evidence would extend the scope of machine comprehension methods, but currently no resources exist to train and test this capability. We propose a novel task to encourage the development of models for text understanding across multiple documents and to investigate the limits of existing methods. In our task, a model learns to seek and combine evidence — effectively performing multihop, alias multi-step, inference. We devise a methodology to produce datasets for this task, given a collection of query-answer pairs and thematically linked documents. Two datasets from different domains are induced, and we identify potential pitfalls and devise circumvention strategies. We evaluate two previously proposed competitive models and find that one can integrate information across documents. However, both models struggle to select relevant information; and providing documents guaranteed to be relevant greatly improves their performance. While the models outperform several strong baselines, their best accuracy reaches 54.5% on an annotated test set, compared to human performance at 85.0%, leaving ample room for improvement.
Most work in machine reading focuses on question answering problems where the answer is directly expressed in the text to read. However, many real-world question answering problems require the reading of text not because it contains the literal answer, but because it contains a recipe to derive an answer together with the reader’s background knowledge. One example is the task of interpreting regulations to answer “Can I...?” or “Do I have to...?” questions such as “I am working in Canada. Do I have to carry on paying UK National Insurance?” after reading a UK government website about this topic. This task requires both the interpretation of rules and the application of background knowledge. It is further complicated due to the fact that, in practice, most questions are underspecified, and a human assistant will regularly have to ask clarification questions such as “How long have you been working abroad?” when the answer cannot be directly derived from the question and text. In this paper, we formalise this task and develop a crowd-sourcing strategy to collect 37k task instances based on real-world rules and crowd-generated questions and scenarios. We analyse the challenges of this task and assess its difficulty by evaluating the performance of rule-based and machine-learning baselines. We observe promising results when no background knowledge is necessary, and substantial room for improvement whenever background knowledge is needed.
Grammatical error correction, like other machine learning tasks, greatly benefits from large quantities of high quality training data, which is typically expensive to produce. While writing a program to automatically generate realistic grammatical errors would be difficult, one could learn the distribution of naturally-occurring errors and attempt to introduce them into other datasets. Initial work on inducing errors in this way using statistical machine translation has shown promise; we investigate cheaply constructing synthetic samples, given a small corpus of human-annotated data, using an off-the-rack attentive sequence-to-sequence model and a straight-forward post-processing procedure. Our approach yields error-filled artificial data that helps a vanilla bi-directional LSTM to outperform the previous state of the art at grammatical error detection, and a previously introduced model to gain further improvements of over 5% F0.5 score. When attempting to determine if a given sentence is synthetic, a human annotator at best achieves 39.39 F1 score, indicating that our model generates mostly human-like instances.
Natural Language Inference is a challenging task that has received substantial attention, and state-of-the-art models now achieve impressive test set performance in the form of accuracy scores. Here, we go beyond this single evaluation metric to examine robustness to semantically-valid alterations to the input data. We identify three factors - insensitivity, polarity and unseen pairs - and compare their impact on three SNLI models under a variety of conditions. Our results demonstrate a number of strengths and weaknesses in the models’ ability to generalise to new in-domain instances. In particular, while strong performance is possible on unseen hypernyms, unseen antonyms are more challenging for all the models. More generally, the models suffer from an insensitivity to certain small but semantically significant alterations, and are also often influenced by simple statistical correlations between words and training labels. Overall, we show that evaluations of NLI models can benefit from studying the influence of factors intrinsic to the models or found in the dataset used.
Adversarial examples are inputs to machine learning models designed to cause the model to make a mistake. They are useful for understanding the shortcomings of machine learning models, interpreting their results, and for regularisation. In NLP, however, most example generation strategies produce input text by using known, pre-specified semantic transformations, requiring significant manual effort and in-depth understanding of the problem and domain. In this paper, we investigate the problem of automatically generating adversarial examples that violate a set of given First-Order Logic constraints in Natural Language Inference (NLI). We reduce the problem of identifying such adversarial examples to a combinatorial optimisation problem, by maximising a quantity measuring the degree of violation of such constraints and by using a language model for generating linguistically-plausible examples. Furthermore, we propose a method for adversarially regularising neural NLI models for incorporating background knowledge. Our results show that, while the proposed method does not always improve results on the SNLI and MultiNLI datasets, it significantly and consistently increases the predictive accuracy on adversarially-crafted datasets – up to a 79.6% relative improvement – while drastically reducing the number of background knowledge violations. Furthermore, we show that adversarial examples transfer among model architectures, and that the proposed adversarial training procedure improves the robustness of NLI models to adversarial examples.
We argue that extrapolation to unseen data will often be easier for models that capture global structures, rather than just maximise their local fit to the training data. We show that this is true for two popular models: the Decomposable Attention Model and word2vec.
In this paper we describe our 2nd place FEVER shared-task system that achieved a FEVER score of 62.52% on the provisional test set (without additional human evaluation), and 65.41% on the development set. Our system is a four stage model consisting of document retrieval, sentence retrieval, natural language inference and aggregation. Retrieval is performed leveraging task-specific features, and then a natural language inference model takes each of the retrieved sentences paired with the claimed fact. The resulting predictions are aggregated across retrieved sentences with a Multi-Layer Perceptron, and re-ranked corresponding to the final prediction.
Numeracy is the ability to understand and work with numbers. It is a necessary skill for composing and understanding documents in clinical, scientific, and other technical domains. In this paper, we explore different strategies for modelling numerals with language models, such as memorisation and digit-by-digit composition, and propose a novel neural architecture that uses a continuous probability density function to model numerals from an open vocabulary. Our evaluation on clinical and scientific datasets shows that using hierarchical models to distinguish numerals from words improves a perplexity metric on the subset of numerals by 2 and 4 orders of magnitude, respectively, over non-hierarchical models. A combination of strategies can further improve perplexity. Our continuous probability density function model reduces mean absolute percentage errors by 18% and 54% in comparison to the second best strategy for each dataset, respectively.
Most previous supervised event extraction methods have relied on features derived from manual annotations, and thus cannot be applied to new event types without extra annotation effort. We take a fresh look at event extraction and model it as a generic grounding problem: mapping each event mention to a specific type in a target event ontology. We design a transferable architecture of structural and compositional neural networks to jointly represent and map event mentions and types into a shared semantic space. Based on this new framework, we can select, for each event mention, the event type which is semantically closest in this space as its type. By leveraging manual annotations available for a small set of existing event types, our framework can be applied to new unseen event types without additional manual annotations. When tested on 23 unseen event types, our zero-shot framework, without manual annotations, achieved performance comparable to a supervised model trained from 3,000 sentences annotated with 500 event mentions.
Many Machine Reading and Natural Language Understanding tasks require reading supporting text in order to answer questions. For example, in Question Answering, the supporting text can be newswire or Wikipedia articles; in Natural Language Inference, premises can be seen as the supporting text and hypotheses as questions. Providing a set of useful primitives operating in a single framework of related tasks would allow for expressive modelling, and easier model comparison and replication. To that end, we present Jack the Reader (JACK), a framework for Machine Reading that allows for quick model prototyping by component reuse, evaluation of new models on existing datasets as well as integrating new datasets and applying them on a growing set of implemented baseline models. JACK is currently supporting (but not limited to) three tasks: Question Answering, Natural Language Inference, and Link Prediction. It is developed with the aim of increasing research efficiency and code reuse.
Automatic summarisation is a popular approach to reduce a document to its main arguments. Recent research in the area has focused on neural approaches to summarisation, which can be very data-hungry. However, few large datasets exist and none for the traditionally popular domain of scientific publications, which opens up challenging research avenues centered on encoding large, complex documents. In this paper, we introduce a new dataset for summarisation of computer science publications by exploiting a large resource of author provided summaries and show straightforward ways of extending it further. We develop models on the dataset making use of both neural sentence encoding and traditionally used summarisation features and show that models which encode sentences as well as their local and global context perform best, significantly outperforming well-established baseline methods.
We describe the SemEval task of extracting keyphrases and relations between them from scientific documents, which is crucial for understanding which publications describe which processes, tasks and materials. Although this was a new task, we had a total of 26 submissions across 3 evaluation scenarios. We expect the task and the findings reported in this paper to be relevant for researchers working on understanding scientific content, as well as the broader knowledge base population and information extraction communities.
In this work, we investigate several neural network architectures for fine-grained entity type classification and make three key contributions. Despite being a natural comparison and addition, previous work on attentive neural architectures have not considered hand-crafted features and we combine these with learnt features and establish that they complement each other. Additionally, through quantitative analysis we establish that the attention mechanism learns to attend over syntactic heads and the phrase containing the mention, both of which are known to be strong hand-crafted features for our task. We introduce parameter sharing between labels through a hierarchical encoding method, that in low-dimensional projections show clear clusters for each type hierarchy. Lastly, despite using the same evaluation dataset, the literature frequently compare models trained using different data. We demonstrate that the choice of training data has a drastic impact on performance, which decreases by as much as 9.85% loose micro F1 score for a previously proposed method. Despite this discrepancy, our best model achieves state-of-the-art results with 75.36% loose micro F1 score on the well-established Figer (GOLD) dataset and we report the best results for models trained using publicly available data for the OntoNotes dataset with 64.93% loose micro F1 score.
One key property of word embeddings currently under study is their capacity to encode hypernymy. Previous works have used supervised models to recover hypernymy structures from embeddings. However, the overall results do not clearly show how well we can recover such structures. We conduct the first dataset-centric analysis that shows how only the Baroni dataset provides consistent results. We empirically show that a possible reason for its good performance is its alignment to dimensions specific of hypernymy: generality and similarity
We present the first prototype of the SUMMA Platform: an integrated platform for multilingual media monitoring. The platform contains a rich suite of low-level and high-level natural language processing technologies: automatic speech recognition of broadcast media, machine translation, automated tagging and classification of named entities, semantic parsing to detect relationships between entities, and automatic construction / augmentation of factual knowledge bases. Implemented on the Docker platform, it can easily be deployed, customised, and scaled to large volumes of incoming media streams.
Imitation learning is a learning paradigm originally developed to learn robotic controllers from demonstrations by humans, e.g. autonomous flight from pilot demonstrations. Recently, algorithms for structured prediction were proposed under this paradigm and have been applied successfully to a number of tasks including syntactic dependency parsing, information extraction, coreference resolution, dynamic feature selection, semantic parsing and natural language generation. Key advantages are the ability to handle large output search spaces and to learn with non-decomposable loss functions. Our aim in this tutorial is to have a unified presentation of the various imitation algorithms for structure prediction, and show how they can be applied to a variety of NLP tasks.All material associated with the tutorial will be made available through https://sheffieldnlp.github.io/ImitationLearningTutorialEACL2017/.
In this paper, we introduce the task of targeted aspect-based sentiment analysis. The goal is to extract fine-grained information with respect to entities mentioned in user comments. This work extends both aspect-based sentiment analysis – that assumes a single entity per document — and targeted sentiment analysis — that assumes a single sentiment towards a target entity. In particular, we identify the sentiment towards each aspect of one or more entities. As a testbed for this task, we introduce the SentiHood dataset, extracted from a question answering (QA) platform where urban neighbourhoods are discussed by users. In this context units of text often mention several aspects of one or more neighbourhoods. This is the first time that a generic social media platform,i.e. QA, is used for fine-grained opinion mining. Text coming from QA platforms are far less constrained compared to text from review specific platforms which current datasets are based on. We develop several strong baselines, relying on logistic regression and state-of-the-art recurrent neural networks