Table Question Answering (Table QA) systems have been shown to be highly accurate when trained and tested on open-domain datasets built on top of Wikipedia tables. However, it is not clear whether their performance remains the same when applied to domain-specific scientific and business documents, encountered in industrial settings, which exhibit some unique characteristics: (a) they contain tables with a much more complex layout than Wikipedia tables (including hierarchical row and column headers), (b) they contain domain-specific terms, and (c) they are typically not accompanied by domain-specific labeled data that can be used to train Table QA models.To understand the performance of Table QA approaches in this setting, we introduce AIT-QA; a domain-specific Table QA test dataset. While focusing on the airline industry, AIT-QA reflects the challenges that domain-specific documents pose to Table QA, outlined above. In this work, we describe the creation of the dataset and report zero-shot experimental results of three SOTA Table QA methods. The results clearly expose the limitations of current methods with a best accuracy of just 51.8%. We also present pragmatic table pre-processing steps to pivot and project complex tables into a layout suitable for the SOTA Table QA models. Finally, we provide data-driven insights on how different aspects of this setting (including hierarchical headers, domain-specific terminology, and paraphrasing) affect Table QA methods, in order to help the community develop improved methods for domain-specific Table QA.
Performance of downstream NLP tasks on code-switched Hindi-English (aka ) continues to remain a significant challenge. Intuitively, Hindi and English corpora should aid improve task performance on Hinglish. We show that meta-learning framework can effectively utilize the the labelled resources of the downstream tasks in the constituent languages. The proposed approach improves the performance on downstream tasks on code-switched language. We experiment with code-switching benchmark GLUECoS and report significant improvements.
Solving math word problems (MWPs) is an important and challenging problem in natural language processing. Existing approaches to solving MWPs require full supervision in the form of intermediate equations. However, labeling every MWP with its corresponding equations is a time-consuming and expensive task. In order to address this challenge of equation annotation, we propose a weakly supervised model for solving MWPs by requiring only the final answer as supervision. We approach this problem by first learning to generate the equation using the problem description and the final answer, which we subsequently use to train a supervised MWP solver. We propose and compare various weakly supervised techniques to learn to generate equations directly from the problem description and answer. Through extensive experiments, we demonstrate that without using equations for supervision, our approach achieves accuracy gains of 4.5% and 32% over the current state-of-the-art weakly-supervised approach, on the standard Math23K and AllArith datasets respectively. Additionally, we curate and release new datasets of roughly 10k MWPs each in English and in Hindi (a low-resource language). These datasets are suitable for training weakly supervised models. We also present an extension of our model to semi-supervised learning and present further improvements on results, along with insights.
Weakly-supervised table question-answering (TableQA) models have achieved state-of-art performance by using pre-trained BERT transformer to jointly encoding a question and a table to produce structured query for the question. However, in practical settings TableQA systems are deployed over table corpora having topic and word distributions quite distinct from BERT’s pretraining corpus. In this work we simulate the practical topic shift scenario by designing novel challenge benchmarks WikiSQL-TS and WikiTable-TS, consisting of train-dev-test splits in five distinct topic groups, based on the popular WikiSQL and WikiTable-Questions datasets. We empirically show that, despite pre-training on large open-domain text, performance of models degrades significantly when they are evaluated on unseen topics. In response, we propose T3QA (Topic Transferable Table Question Answering) a pragmatic adaptation framework for TableQA comprising of: (1) topic-specific vocabulary injection into BERT, (2) a novel text-to-text transformer generator (such as T5, GPT2) based natural language question generation pipeline focused on generating topic-specific training data, and (3) a logical form re-ranker. We show that T3QA provides a reasonably good baseline for our topic shift benchmarks. We believe our topic split benchmarks will lead to robust TableQA solutions that are better suited for practical deployment
Natural language processing (NLP) tasks (e.g. question-answering in English) benefit from knowledge of other tasks (e.g., named entity recognition in English) and knowledge of other languages (e.g., question-answering in Spanish). Such shared representations are typically learned in isolation, either across tasks or across languages. In this work, we propose a meta-learning approach to learn the interactions between both tasks and languages. We also investigate the role of different sampling strategies used during meta-learning. We present experiments on five different tasks and six different languages from the XTREME multilingual benchmark dataset. Our meta-learned model clearly improves in performance compared to competitive baseline models that also include multi-task baselines. We also present zero-shot evaluations on unseen target languages to demonstrate the utility of our proposed model.
Transformer based architectures are recently used for the task of answering questions over tables. In order to improve the accuracy on this task, specialized pre-training techniques have been developed and applied on millions of open-domain web tables. In this paper, we propose two novel approaches demonstrating that one can achieve superior performance on table QA task without even using any of these specialized pre-training techniques. The first model, called RCI interaction, leverages a transformer based architecture that independently classifies rows and columns to identify relevant cells. While this model yields extremely high accuracy at finding cell values on recent benchmarks, a second model we propose, called RCI representation, provides a significant efficiency advantage for online QA systems over tables by materializing embeddings for existing tables. Experiments on recent benchmarks prove that the proposed methods can effectively locate cell values on tables (up to ~98% Hit@1 accuracy on WikiSQL lookup questions). Also, the interaction model outperforms the state-of-the-art transformer based approaches, pre-trained on very large table corpora (TAPAS and TaBERT), achieving ~3.4% and ~18.86% additional precision improvement on the standard WikiSQL benchmark.
Question generation (QG) has recently attracted considerable attention. Most of the current neural models take as input only one or two sentences, and perform poorly when multiple sentences or complete paragraphs are given as input. However, in real-world scenarios it is very important to be able to generate high-quality questions from complete paragraphs. In this paper, we present a simple yet effective technique for answer-aware question generation from paragraphs. We augment a basic sequence-to-sequence QG model with dynamic, paragraph-specific dictionary and copy attention that is persistent across the corpus, without requiring features generated by sophisticated NLP pipelines or handcrafted rules. Our evaluation on SQuAD shows that our model significantly outperforms current state-of-the-art systems in question generation from paragraphs in both automatic and human evaluation. We achieve a 6-point improvement over the best system on BLEU-4, from 16.38 to 22.62.
Automatic question generation (QG) is a useful yet challenging task in NLP. Recent neural network-based approaches represent the state-of-the-art in this task. In this work, we attempt to strengthen them significantly by adopting a holistic and novel generator-evaluator framework that directly optimizes objectives that reward semantics and structure. The generator is a sequence-to-sequence model that incorporates the structure and semantics of the question being generated. The generator predicts an answer in the passage that the question can pivot on. Employing the copy and coverage mechanisms, it also acknowledges other contextually important (and possibly rare) keywords in the passage that the question needs to conform to, while not redundantly repeating words. The evaluator model evaluates and assigns a reward to each predicted question based on its conformity to the structure of ground-truth questions. We propose two novel QG-specific reward functions for text conformity and answer conformity of the generated question. The evaluator also employs structure-sensitive rewards based on evaluation measures such as BLEU, GLEU, and ROUGE-L, which are suitable for QG. In contrast, most of the previous works only optimize the cross-entropy loss, which can induce inconsistencies between training (objective) and testing (evaluation) measures. Our evaluation shows that our approach significantly outperforms state-of-the-art systems on the widely-used SQuAD benchmark as per both automatic and human evaluation.
Generating syntactically and semantically valid and relevant questions from paragraphs is useful with many applications. Manual generation is a labour-intensive task, as it requires the reading, parsing and understanding of long passages of text. A number of question generation models based on sequence-to-sequence techniques have recently been proposed. Most of them generate questions from sentences only, and none of them is publicly available as an easy-to-use service. In this paper, we demonstrate ParaQG, a Web-based system for generating questions from sentences and paragraphs. ParaQG incorporates a number of novel functionalities to make the question generation process user-friendly. It provides an interactive interface for a user to select answers with visual insights on generation of questions. It also employs various faceted views to group similar questions as well as filtering techniques to eliminate unanswerable questions.
Automatic question generation (QG) is a challenging problem in natural language understanding. QG systems are typically built assuming access to a large number of training instances where each instance is a question and its corresponding answer. For a new language, such training instances are hard to obtain making the QG problem even more challenging. Using this as our motivation, we study the reuse of an available large QG dataset in a secondary language (e.g. English) to learn a QG model for a primary language (e.g. Hindi) of interest. For the primary language, we assume access to a large amount of monolingual text but only a small QG dataset. We propose a cross-lingual QG model which uses the following training regime: (i) Unsupervised pretraining of language models in both primary and secondary languages and (ii) joint supervised training for QG in both languages. We demonstrate the efficacy of our proposed approach using two different primary languages, Hindi and Chinese. Our proposed framework clearly outperforms a number of baseline models, including a fully-supervised transformer-based model trained on the QG datasets in the primary language. We also create and release a new question answering dataset for Hindi consisting of 6555 sentences.
We present a system for resolving entities and disambiguating locations based on publicly available web data in the domain of ancient Hindu Temples. Scarce, unstructured information poses a challenge to Entity Resolution(ER) and snippet ranking. Additionally, because the same set of entities may be associated with multiple locations, Location Disambiguation(LD) is a problem. The mentions and descriptions of temples exist in the order of hundreds of thousands, with such data generated by various users in various forms such as text (Wikipedia pages), videos (YouTube videos), blogs, etc. We demonstrate an integrated approach using a combination of grammar rules for parsing and unsupervised (clustering) algorithms to resolve entity and locations with high confidence. A demo of our system is accessible at tinyurl.com/templedemos. Our system is open source and available on GitHub.