Vaishali Pal


2022

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Parameter-Efficient Abstractive Question Answering over Tables or Text
Vaishali Pal | Evangelos Kanoulas | Maarten Rijke
Proceedings of the Second DialDoc Workshop on Document-grounded Dialogue and Conversational Question Answering

A long-term ambition of information seeking QA systems is to reason over multi-modal contexts and generate natural answers to user queries. Today, memory intensive pre-trained language models are adapted to downstream tasks such as QA by fine-tuning the model on QA data in a specific modality like unstructured text or structured tables. To avoid training such memory-hungry models while utilizing a uniform architecture for each modality, parameter-efficient adapters add and train small task-specific bottle-neck layers between transformer layers. In this work, we study parameter-efficient abstractive QA in encoder-decoder models over structured tabular data and unstructured textual data using only 1.5% additional parameters for each modality. We also ablate over adapter layers in both encoder and decoder modules to study the efficiency-performance trade-off and demonstrate that reducing additional trainable parameters down to 0.7%-1.0% leads to comparable results. Our models out-perform current state-of-the-art models on tabular QA datasets such as Tablesum and FeTaQA, and achieve comparable performance on a textual QA dataset such as NarrativeQA using significantly less trainable parameters than fine-tuning.

2019

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Answering Naturally: Factoid to Full length Answer Generation
Vaishali Pal | Manish Shrivastava | Irshad Bhat
Proceedings of the 2nd Workshop on New Frontiers in Summarization

In recent years, the task of Question Answering over passages, also pitched as a reading comprehension, has evolved into a very active research area. A reading comprehension system extracts a span of text, comprising of named entities, dates, small phrases, etc., which serve as the answer to a given question. However, these spans of text would result in an unnatural reading experience in a conversational system. Usually, dialogue systems solve this issue by using template-based language generation. These systems, though adequate for a domain specific task, are too restrictive and predefined for a domain independent system. In order to present the user with a more conversational experience, we propose a pointer generator based full-length answer generator which can be used with most QA systems. Our system generates a full length answer given a question and the extracted factoid/span answer without relying on the passage from where the answer was extracted. We also present a dataset of 315000 question, factoid answer and full length answer triples. We have evaluated our system using ROUGE-1,2,L and BLEU and achieved 74.05 BLEU score and 86.25 Rogue-L score.