To alleviate the data scarcity problem in training question answering systems, recent works propose additional intermediate pre-training for dense passage retrieval (DPR). However, there still remains a large discrepancy between the provided upstream signals and the downstream question-passage relevance, which leads to less improvement. To bridge this gap, we propose the HyperLink-induced Pre-training (HLP), a method to pre-train the dense retriever with the text relevance induced by hyperlink-based topology within Web documents. We demonstrate that the hyperlink-based structures of dual-link and co-mention can provide effective relevance signals for large-scale pre-training that better facilitate downstream passage retrieval. We investigate the effectiveness of our approach across a wide range of open-domain QA datasets under zero-shot, few-shot, multi-hop, and out-of-domain scenarios. The experiments show our HLP outperforms the BM25 by up to 7 points as well as other pre-training methods by more than 10 points in terms of top-20 retrieval accuracy under the zero-shot scenario. Furthermore, HLP significantly outperforms other pre-training methods under the other scenarios.
Open-domain question answering is a challenging task with a wide variety of practical applications. Existing modern approaches mostly follow a standard two-stage paradigm: retriever then reader. In this article, we focus on improving the effectiveness of the reader module and propose a novel copy-augmented generative approach that integrates the merits of both extractive and generative readers. In particular, our model is built upon the powerful generative model FiD (CITATION). We enhance the original generative reader by incorporating a pointer network to encourage the model to directly copy words from the retrieved passages. We conduct experiments on the two benchmark datasets, Natural Questions and TriviaQA, and the empirical results demonstrate the performance gains of our proposed approach.
Long-form question answering (LFQA) aims to generate a paragraph-length answer for a given question. While current work on LFQA using large pre-trained model for generation are effective at producing fluent and somewhat relevant content, one primary challenge lies in how to generate a faithful answer that has less hallucinated content. We propose a new end-to-end framework that jointly models answer generation and machine reading. The key idea is to augment the generation model with fine-grained, answer-related salient information which can be viewed as an emphasis on faithful facts. State-of-the-art results on two LFQA datasets, ELI5 and MS MARCO, demonstrate the effectiveness of our method, in comparison with strong baselines on automatic and human evaluation metrics. A detailed analysis further proves the competency of our methods in generating fluent, relevant, and more faithful answers.
Recently, there has been a trend to investigate the factual knowledge captured by Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs). Many works show the PLMs’ ability to fill in the missing factual words in cloze-style prompts such as ”Dante was born in [MASK].” However, it is still a mystery how PLMs generate the results correctly: relying on effective clues or shortcut patterns? We try to answer this question by a causal-inspired analysis that quantitatively measures and evaluates the word-level patterns that PLMs depend on to generate the missing words. We check the words that have three typical associations with the missing words: knowledge-dependent, positionally close, and highly co-occurred. Our analysis shows: (1) PLMs generate the missing factual words more by the positionally close and highly co-occurred words than the knowledge-dependent words; (2) the dependence on the knowledge-dependent words is more effective than the positionally close and highly co-occurred words. Accordingly, we conclude that the PLMs capture the factual knowledge ineffectively because of depending on the inadequate associations.
Previous works show that Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs) can capture factual knowledge. However, some analyses reveal that PLMs fail to perform it robustly, e.g., being sensitive to the changes of prompts when extracting factual knowledge. To mitigate this issue, we propose to let PLMs learn the deterministic relationship between the remaining context and the masked content. The deterministic relationship ensures that the masked factual content can be deterministically inferable based on the existing clues in the context. That would provide more stable patterns for PLMs to capture factual knowledge than randomly masking. Two pre-training tasks are further introduced to motivate PLMs to rely on the deterministic relationship when filling masks. Specifically, we use an external Knowledge Base (KB) to identify deterministic relationships and continuously pre-train PLMs with the proposed methods. The factual knowledge probing experiments indicate that the continuously pre-trained PLMs achieve better robustness in factual knowledge capturing. Further experiments on question-answering datasets show that trying to learn a deterministic relationship with the proposed methods can also help other knowledge-intensive tasks.