Text-to-SQL systems offers natural language interfaces to databases, which can automatically generates SQL queries given natural language questions. On the WikiSQL benchmark, state-of- the-art text-to-SQL systems typically take a slot-filling approach by building several specialized models for each type of slot. Despite being effective, such modularized systems are complex and also fall short in jointly learning for different slots. To solve these problems, this paper proposes a novel approach that formulates the task as a question answering problem, where different slots are predicted by a unified machine reading comprehension (MRC) model. For this purpose, we use a BERT-based MRC model, which can also benefit from intermediate training on other MRC datasets. The proposed method can achieve competitive results on WikiSQL, suggesting it being a promising direction for text-to-SQL.
Recently, pre-trained language models such as BERT have shown state-of-the-art accuracies in text matching. When being applied to IR (or QA), the BERT-based matching models need to online calculate the representations and interactions for all query-candidate pairs. The high inference cost has prohibited the deployments of BERT-based matching models in many practical applications. To address this issue, we propose a novel BERT-based text matching model, in which the representations and the interactions are decoupled. Then, the representations of the candidates can be calculated and stored offline, and directly retrieved during the online matching phase. To conduct the interactions and generate final matching scores, a lightweight attention network is designed. Experiments based on several large scale text matching datasets show that the proposed model, called FASTMATCH, can achieve up to 100X speed-up to BERT and RoBERTa at the online matching phase, while keeping more up to 98.7% of the performance.
On the WikiSQL benchmark, state-of-the-art text-to-SQL systems typically take a slot- filling approach by building several dedicated models for each type of slots. Such modularized systems are not only complex but also of limited capacity for capturing inter-dependencies among SQL clauses. To solve these problems, this paper proposes a novel extraction-linking approach, where a unified extractor recognizes all types of slot mentions appearing in the question sentence before a linker maps the recognized columns to the table schema to generate executable SQL queries. Trained with automatically generated annotations, the proposed method achieves the first place on the WikiSQL benchmark.