Fusion-in-decoder (Fid) (Izacard and Grave, 2020) is a generative question answering (QA) model that leverages passage retrieval with a pre-trained transformer and pushed the state of the art on single-hop QA. However, the complexity of multi-hop QA hinders the effectiveness of the generative QA approach. In this work, we propose a simple generative approach (PathFid) that extends the task beyond just answer generation by explicitly modeling the reasoning process to resolve the answer for multi-hop questions. By linearizing the hierarchical reasoning path of supporting passages, their key sentences, and finally the factoid answer, we cast the problem as a single sequence prediction task. To facilitate complex reasoning with multiple clues, we further extend the unified flat representation of multiple input documents by encoding cross-passage interactions. Our extensive experiments demonstrate that PathFid leads to strong performance gains on two multi-hop QA datasets: HotpotQA and IIRC. Besides the performance gains, PathFid is more interpretable, which in turn yields answers that are more faithfully grounded to the supporting passages and facts compared to the baseline Fid model.
Existing KBQA approaches, despite achieving strong performance on i.i.d. test data, often struggle in generalizing to questions involving unseen KB schema items. Prior ranking-based approaches have shown some success in generalization, but suffer from the coverage issue. We present RnG-KBQA, a Rank-and-Generate approach for KBQA, which remedies the coverage issue with a generation model while preserving a strong generalization capability. Our approach first uses a contrastive ranker to rank a set of candidate logical forms obtained by searching over the knowledge graph. It then introduces a tailored generation model conditioned on the question and the top-ranked candidates to compose the final logical form. We achieve new state-of-the-art results on GrailQA and WebQSP datasets. In particular, our method surpasses the prior state-of-the-art by a large margin on the GrailQA leaderboard. In addition, RnG-KBQA outperforms all prior approaches on the popular WebQSP benchmark, even including the ones that use the oracle entity linking. The experimental results demonstrate the effectiveness of the interplay between ranking and generation, which leads to the superior performance of our proposed approach across all settings with especially strong improvements in zero-shot generalization.
Aligning parallel sentences in multilingual corpora is essential to curating data for downstream applications such as Machine Translation. In this work, we present OneAligner, an alignment model specially designed for sentence retrieval tasks. This model is able to train on only one language pair and transfers, in a cross-lingual fashion, to low-resource language pairs with negligible degradation in performance. When trained with all language pairs of a large-scale parallel multilingual corpus (OPUS-100), this model achieves the state-of-the-art result on the Tateoba dataset, outperforming an equally-sized previous model by 8.0 points in accuracy while using less than 0.6% of their parallel data. When finetuned on a single rich-resource language pair, be it English-centered or not, our model is able to match the performance of the ones finetuned on all language pairs under the same data budget with less than 2.0 points decrease in accuracy. Furthermore, with the same setup, scaling up the number of rich-resource language pairs monotonically improves the performance, reaching a minimum of 0.4 points discrepancy in accuracy, making it less mandatory to collect any low-resource parallel data. Finally, we conclude through empirical results and analyses that the performance of the sentence alignment task depends mostly on the monolingual and parallel data size, up to a certain size threshold, rather than on what language pairs are used for training or evaluation.
Abstractive summarization systems leveraging pre-training language models have achieved superior results on benchmark datasets. However, such models have been shown to be more prone to hallucinate facts that are unfaithful to the input context. In this paper, we propose a method to remedy entity-level extrinsic hallucinations with Entity Coverage Control (ECC). We first compute entity coverage precision and prepend the corresponding control code for each training example, which implicitly guides the model to recognize faithfulness contents in the training phase. We further extend our method via intermediate fine-tuning on large but noisy data extracted from Wikipedia to unlock zero-shot summarization. We show that the proposed method leads to more faithful and salient abstractive summarization in supervised fine-tuning and zero-shot settings according to our experimental results on three benchmark datasets XSum, Pubmed, and SAMSum of very different domains and styles.
Pre-trained multilingual language models show significant performance gains for zero-shot cross-lingual model transfer on a wide range of natural language understanding (NLU) tasks. Previously, for zero-shot cross-lingual evaluation, pre-trained models are only fine-tuned on English data and tested on a variety of target languages. In this paper, we do cross-lingualevaluation on various NLU tasks (sentence classification, sequence labeling, question answering) using prompt-tuning and compare it with fine-tuning. The results show that prompt tuning achieves much better cross-lingual transfer than fine-tuning across datasets, with only 0.1% to 0.3% tuned parameters. Additionally, we demonstrate through the analysis that prompt tuning can have better cross-lingual transfer-ability of representations on downstream tasks with better aligned decision boundaries.
While both extractive and generative readers have been successfully applied to the Question Answering (QA) task, little attention has been paid toward the systematic comparison of them. Characterizing the strengths and weaknesses of the two readers is crucial not only for making a more informed reader selection in practice but also for developing a deeper understanding to foster further research on improving readers in a principled manner. Motivated by this goal, we make the first attempt to systematically study the comparison of extractive and generative readers for question answering. To be aligned with the state-of-the-art, we explore nine transformer-based large pre-trained language models (PrLMs) as backbone architectures. Furthermore, we organize our findings under two main categories: (1) keeping the architecture invariant, and (2) varying the underlying PrLMs. Among several interesting findings, it is important to highlight that (1) the generative readers perform better in long context QA, (2) the extractive readers perform better in short context while also showing better out-of-domain generalization, and (3) the encoder of encoder-decoder PrLMs (e.g., T5) turns out to be a strong extractive reader and outperforms the standard choice of encoder-only PrLMs (e.g., RoBERTa). We also study the effect of multi-task learning on the two types of readers varying the underlying PrLMs and perform qualitative and quantitative diagnosis to provide further insights into future directions in modeling better readers.
Parsing natural language questions into executable logical forms is a useful and interpretable way to perform question answering on structured data such as knowledge bases (KB) or databases (DB). However, existing approaches on semantic parsing cannot adapt to both modalities, as they suffer from the exponential growth of the logical form candidates and can hardly generalize to unseen data.In this work, we propose Uni-Parser, a unified semantic parser for question answering (QA) on both KB and DB. We define the primitive (relation and entity in KB, and table name, column name and cell value in DB) as the essential element in our framework. The number of primitives grows only at a linear rate to the number of retrieved relations in KB and DB, preventing us from exponential logic form candidates. We leverage the generator to predict final logical forms by altering and composing top-ranked primitives with different operations (e.g. select, where, count). With sufficiently pruned search space by a contrastive primitive ranker, the generator is empowered to capture the composition of primitives enhancing its generalization ability. We achieve competitive results on multiple KB and DB QA benchmarks with more efficiency, especially in the compositional and zero-shot settings.
The benchmark performance of cross-database semantic parsing has climbed steadily in recent years, catalyzed by the wide adoption of pre-trained language models. Yet existing work have shown that state-of-the-art cross-database semantic parsers struggle to generalize to novel user utterances, databases and query structures. To obtain transparent details on the strengths and limitation of these models, we propose a diagnostic testing approach based on controlled synthesis of canonical natural language and SQL pairs. Inspired by the CheckList, we characterize a set of essential capabilities for cross-database semantic parsing models, and detailed the method for synthesizing the corresponding test data. We evaluated a variety of high performing models using the proposed approach, and identified several non-obvious weaknesses across models (e.g. unable to correctly select many columns). Our dataset and code are released as a test suite at http://github.com/hclent/BehaviorCheckingSemPar.
Paraphrase generation has benefited extensively from recent progress in the designing of training objectives and model architectures. However, previous explorations have largely focused on supervised methods, which require a large amount of labeled data that is costly to collect. To address this drawback, we adopt a transfer learning approach and propose a training pipeline that enables pre-trained language models to generate high-quality paraphrases in an unsupervised setting. Our recipe consists of task-adaptation, self-supervision, and a novel decoding algorithm named Dynamic Blocking (DB). To enforce a surface form dissimilar from the input, whenever the language model emits a token contained in the source sequence, DB prevents the model from outputting the subsequent source token for the next generation step. We show with automatic and human evaluations that our approach achieves state-of-the-art performance on both the Quora Question Pair (QQP) and the ParaNMT datasets and is robust to domain shift between the two datasets of distinct distributions. We also demonstrate that our model transfers to paraphrasing in other languages without any additional finetuning.
Dense neural text retrieval has achieved promising results on open-domain Question Answering (QA), where latent representations of questions and passages are exploited for maximum inner product search in the retrieval process. However, current dense retrievers require splitting documents into short passages that usually contain local, partial and sometimes biased context, and highly depend on the splitting process. As a consequence, it may yield inaccurate and misleading hidden representations, thus deteriorating the final retrieval result. In this work, we propose Dense Hierarchical Retrieval (DHR), a hierarchical framework which can generate accurate dense representations of passages by utilizing both macroscopic semantics in the document and microscopic semantics specific to each passage. Specifically, a document-level retriever first identifies relevant documents, among which relevant passages are then retrieved by a passage-level retriever. The ranking of the retrieved passages will be further calibrated by examining the document-level relevance. In addition, hierarchical title structure and two negative sampling strategies (i.e., In-Doc and In-Sec negatives) are investigated. We apply DHR to large-scale open-domain QA datasets. DHR significantly outperforms the original dense passage retriever, and helps an end-to-end QA system outperform the strong baselines on multiple open-domain QA benchmarks.
Zhang et al. (2020) proposed to formulate few-shot intent classification as natural language inference (NLI) between query utterances and examples in the training set. The method is known as discriminative nearest neighbor classification or DNNC. Inspired by this work, we propose to simplify the NLI-style classification pipeline to be the entailment prediction on the utterance-semantic-label-pair (USLP). The semantic information in the labels can thus been infused into the classification process. Compared with DNNC, our proposed method is more efficient in both training and serving since it is based upon the entailment between query utterance and labels instead of all the training examples. The DNNC method requires more than one example per intent while the USLP approach does not have such constraint. In the 1-shot experiments on the CLINC150 (Larson et al., 2019) dataset, the USLP method outperforms traditional classification approach by >20 points (in-domain ac- curacy). We also find that longer and semantically meaningful labels tend to benefit model performance, however, the benefit shrinks as more training data is available.
Document grounded generation is the task of using the information provided in a document to improve text generation. This work focuses on two different document grounded generation tasks: Wikipedia Update Generation task and Dialogue response generation. Our work introduces two novel adaptations of large scale pre-trained encoder-decoder models focusing on building context driven representation of the document and enabling specific attention to the information in the document. Additionally, we provide a stronger BART baseline for these tasks. Our proposed techniques outperform existing methods on both automated (at least 48% increase in BLEU-4 points) and human evaluation for closeness to reference and relevance to the document. Furthermore, we perform comprehensive manual inspection of the generated output and categorize errors to provide insights into future directions in modeling these tasks.