Although transfer learning has been shown to be successful for tasks like object and speech recognition, its applicability to question answering (QA) has yet to be well-studied. In this paper, we conduct extensive experiments to investigate the transferability of knowledge learned from a source QA dataset to a target dataset using two QA models. The performance of both models on a TOEFL listening comprehension test (Tseng et al., 2016) and MCTest (Richardson et al., 2013) is significantly improved via a simple transfer learning technique from MovieQA (Tapaswi et al., 2016). In particular, one of the models achieves the state-of-the-art on all target datasets; for the TOEFL listening comprehension test, it outperforms the previous best model by 7%. Finally, we show that transfer learning is helpful even in unsupervised scenarios when correct answers for target QA dataset examples are not available.

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自动问答(Question Answering, QA)是指利用计算机自动回答用户所提出的问题以满足用户知识需求的任务。不同于现有搜索引擎,问答系统是信息服务的一种高级形式,系统返回用户的不再是基于关键词匹配排序的文档列表,而是精准的自然语言答案。近年来,随着人工智能的飞速发展,自动问答已经成为倍受关注且发展前景广泛的研究方向。

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Reading comprehension (RC) has been studied in a variety of datasets with the boosted performance brought by deep neural networks. However, the generalization capability of these models across different domains remains unclear. To alleviate this issue, we are going to investigate unsupervised domain adaptation on RC, wherein a model is trained on labeled source domain and to be applied to the target domain with only unlabeled samples. We first show that even with the powerful BERT contextual representation, the performance is still unsatisfactory when the model trained on one dataset is directly applied to another target dataset. To solve this, we provide a novel conditional adversarial self-training method (CASe). Specifically, our approach leverages a BERT model fine-tuned on the source dataset along with the confidence filtering to generate reliable pseudo-labeled samples in the target domain for self-training. On the other hand, it further reduces domain distribution discrepancy through conditional adversarial learning across domains. Extensive experiments show our approach achieves comparable accuracy to supervised models on multiple large-scale benchmark datasets.

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The task of learning a sentiment classification model that adapts well to any target domain, different from the source domain, is a challenging problem. Majority of the existing approaches focus on learning a common representation by leveraging both source and target data during training. In this paper, we introduce a two-stage training procedure that leverages weakly supervised datasets for developing simple lift-and-shift-based predictive models without being exposed to the target domain during the training phase. Experimental results show that transfer with weak supervision from a source domain to various target domains provides performance very close to that obtained via supervised training on the target domain itself.

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In this paper, we investigate the challenges of using reinforcement learning agents for question-answering over knowledge graphs for real-world applications. We examine the performance metrics used by state-of-the-art systems and determine that they are inadequate for such settings. More specifically, they do not evaluate the systems correctly for situations when there is no answer available and thus agents optimized for these metrics are poor at modeling confidence. We introduce a simple new performance metric for evaluating question-answering agents that is more representative of practical usage conditions, and optimize for this metric by extending the binary reward structure used in prior work to a ternary reward structure which also rewards an agent for not answering a question rather than giving an incorrect answer. We show that this can drastically improve the precision of answered questions while only not answering a limited number of previously correctly answered questions. Employing a supervised learning strategy using depth-first-search paths to bootstrap the reinforcement learning algorithm further improves performance.

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One of the main challenges in ranking is embedding the query and document pairs into a joint feature space, which can then be fed to a learning-to-rank algorithm. To achieve this representation, the conventional state of the art approaches perform extensive feature engineering that encode the similarity of the query-answer pair. Recently, deep-learning solutions have shown that it is possible to achieve comparable performance, in some settings, by learning the similarity representation directly from data. Unfortunately, previous models perform poorly on longer texts, or on texts with significant portion of irrelevant information, or which are grammatically incorrect. To overcome these limitations, we propose a novel ranking algorithm for question answering, QARAT, which uses an attention mechanism to learn on which words and phrases to focus when building the mutual representation. We demonstrate superior ranking performance on several real-world question-answer ranking datasets, and provide visualization of the attention mechanism to otter more insights into how our models of attention could benefit ranking for difficult question answering challenges.

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We show that the task of question answering (QA) can significantly benefit from the transfer learning of models trained on a different large, fine-grained QA dataset. We achieve the state of the art in two well-studied QA datasets, WikiQA and SemEval-2016 (Task 3A), through a basic transfer learning technique from SQuAD. For WikiQA, our model outperforms the previous best model by more than 8%. We demonstrate that finer supervision provides better guidance for learning lexical and syntactic information than coarser supervision, through quantitative results and visual analysis. We also show that a similar transfer learning procedure achieves the state of the art on an entailment task.

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In recent years, there have been amazing advances in deep learning methods for machine reading. In machine reading, the machine reader has to extract the answer from the given ground truth paragraph. Recently, the state-of-the-art machine reading models achieve human level performance in SQuAD which is a reading comprehension-style question answering (QA) task. The success of machine reading has inspired researchers to combine information retrieval with machine reading to tackle open-domain QA. However, these systems perform poorly compared to reading comprehension-style QA because it is difficult to retrieve the pieces of paragraphs that contain the answer to the question. In this study, we propose two neural network rankers that assign scores to different passages based on their likelihood of containing the answer to a given question. Additionally, we analyze the relative importance of semantic similarity and word level relevance matching in open-domain QA.

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Recent success of deep learning models for the task of extractive Question Answering (QA) is hinged on the availability of large annotated corpora. However, large domain specific annotated corpora are limited and expensive to construct. In this work, we envision a system where the end user specifies a set of base documents and only a few labelled examples. Our system exploits the document structure to create cloze-style questions from these base documents; pre-trains a powerful neural network on the cloze style questions; and further fine-tunes the model on the labeled examples. We evaluate our proposed system across three diverse datasets from different domains, and find it to be highly effective with very little labeled data. We attain more than 50% F1 score on SQuAD and TriviaQA with less than a thousand labelled examples. We are also releasing a set of 3.2M cloze-style questions for practitioners to use while building QA systems.

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Visual Question Answering (VQA) models have struggled with counting objects in natural images so far. We identify a fundamental problem due to soft attention in these models as a cause. To circumvent this problem, we propose a neural network component that allows robust counting from object proposals. Experiments on a toy task show the effectiveness of this component and we obtain state-of-the-art accuracy on the number category of the VQA v2 dataset without negatively affecting other categories, even outperforming ensemble models with our single model. On a difficult balanced pair metric, the component gives a substantial improvement in counting over a strong baseline by 6.6%.

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