In this paper, we introduce DuReader, a new large-scale, open-domain Chinese machine reading comprehension (MRC) dataset, aiming to tackle real-world MRC problems. In comparison to prior datasets, DuReader has the following characteristics: (a) the questions and the documents are all extracted from real application data, and the answers are human generated; (b) it provides rich annotations for question types, especially yes-no and opinion questions, which take a large proportion in real users' questions but have not been well studied before; (c) it provides multiple answers for each question. The first release of DuReader contains 200k questions, 1,000k documents, and 420k answers, which, to the best of our knowledge, is the largest Chinese MRC dataset so far. Experimental results show there exists big gap between the state-of-the-art baseline systems and human performance, which indicates DuReader is a challenging dataset that deserves future study. The dataset and the code of the baseline systems are publicly available now.

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包括微软、CMU、Stanford在内的顶级人工智能专家和学者们正在研究更复杂的任务:让机器像人类一样阅读文本,进而根据对该文本的理解来回答问题。这种阅读理解就像是让计算机来做我们高考英语的阅读理解题。

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To provide a survey on the existing tasks and models in Machine Reading Comprehension (MRC), this report reviews: 1) the dataset collection and performance evaluation of some representative simple-reasoning and complex-reasoning MRC tasks; 2) the architecture designs, attention mechanisms, and performance-boosting approaches for developing neural-network-based MRC models; 3) some recently proposed transfer learning approaches to incorporating text-style knowledge contained in external corpora into the neural networks of MRC models; 4) some recently proposed knowledge base encoding approaches to incorporating graph-style knowledge contained in external knowledge bases into the neural networks of MRC models. Besides, according to what has been achieved and what are still deficient, this report also proposes some open problems for the future research.

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We introduce GQA, a new dataset for real-world visual reasoning and compositional question answering, seeking to address key shortcomings of previous VQA datasets. We have developed a strong and robust question engine that leverages scene graph structures to create 22M diverse reasoning questions, all come with functional programs that represent their semantics. We use the programs to gain tight control over the answer distribution and present a new tunable smoothing technique to mitigate question biases. Accompanying the dataset is a suite of new metrics that evaluate essential qualities such as consistency, grounding and plausibility. An extensive analysis is performed for baselines as well as state-of-the-art models, providing fine-grained results for different question types and topologies. Whereas a blind LSTM obtains mere 42.1%, and strong VQA models achieve 54.1%, human performance tops at 89.3%, offering ample opportunity for new research to explore. We strongly hope GQA will provide an enabling resource for the next generation of models with enhanced robustness, improved consistency, and deeper semantic understanding for images and language.

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Machine reading comprehension have been intensively studied in recent years, and neural network-based models have shown dominant performances. In this paper, we present a Sogou Machine Reading Comprehension (SMRC) toolkit that can be used to provide the fast and efficient development of modern machine comprehension models, including both published models and original prototypes. To achieve this goal, the toolkit provides dataset readers, a flexible preprocessing pipeline, necessary neural network components, and built-in models, which make the whole process of data preparation, model construction, and training easier.

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Visual question answering (VQA) demands simultaneous comprehension of both the image visual content and natural language questions. In some cases, the reasoning needs the help of common sense or general knowledge which usually appear in the form of text. Current methods jointly embed both the visual information and the textual feature into the same space. However, how to model the complex interactions between the two different modalities is not an easy task. In contrast to struggling on multimodal feature fusion, in this paper, we propose to unify all the input information by natural language so as to convert VQA into a machine reading comprehension problem. With this transformation, our method not only can tackle VQA datasets that focus on observation based questions, but can also be naturally extended to handle knowledge-based VQA which requires to explore large-scale external knowledge base. It is a step towards being able to exploit large volumes of text and natural language processing techniques to address VQA problem. Two types of models are proposed to deal with open-ended VQA and multiple-choice VQA respectively. We evaluate our models on three VQA benchmarks. The comparable performance with the state-of-the-art demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method.

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Machine reading comprehension with unanswerable questions aims to abstain from answering when no answer can be inferred. In addition to extract answers, previous works usually predict an additional "no-answer" probability to detect unanswerable cases. However, they fail to validate the answerability of the question by verifying the legitimacy of the predicted answer. To address this problem, we propose a novel read-then-verify system, which not only utilizes a neural reader to extract candidate answers and produce no-answer probabilities, but also leverages an answer verifier to decide whether the predicted answer is entailed by the input snippets. Moreover, we introduce two auxiliary losses to help the reader better handle answer extraction as well as no-answer detection, and investigate three different architectures for the answer verifier. Our experiments on the SQuAD 2.0 dataset show that our system achieves a score of 74.2 F1 on the test set, achieving state-of-the-art results at the time of submission (Aug. 28th, 2018).

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Machine reading comprehension (MRC) requires reasoning about both the knowledge involved in a document and knowledge about the world. However, existing datasets are typically dominated by questions that can be well solved by context matching, which fail to test this capability. To encourage the progress on knowledge-based reasoning in MRC, we present knowledge-based MRC in this paper, and build a new dataset consisting of 40,047 question-answer pairs. The annotation of this dataset is designed so that successfully answering the questions requires understanding and the knowledge involved in a document. We implement a framework consisting of both a question answering model and a question generation model, both of which take the knowledge extracted from the document as well as relevant facts from an external knowledge base such as Freebase/ProBase/Reverb/NELL. Results show that incorporating side information from external KB improves the accuracy of the baseline question answer system. We compare it with a standard MRC model BiDAF, and also provide the difficulty of the dataset and lay out remaining challenges.

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Most research in reading comprehension has focused on answering questions based on individual documents or even single paragraphs. We introduce a method which integrates and reasons relying on information spread within documents and across multiple documents. We frame it as an inference problem on a graph. Mentions of entities are nodes of this graph where edges encode relations between different mentions (e.g., within- and cross-document co-references). Graph convolutional networks (GCNs) are applied to these graphs and trained to perform multi-step reasoning. Our Entity-GCN method is scalable and compact, and it achieves state-of-the-art results on the WikiHop dataset (Welbl et al. 2017).

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In this paper, we introduce the Reinforced Mnemonic Reader for machine reading comprehension tasks, which enhances previous attentive readers in two aspects. First, a reattention mechanism is proposed to refine current attentions by directly accessing to past attentions that are temporally memorized in a multi-round alignment architecture, so as to avoid the problems of attention redundancy and attention deficiency. Second, a new optimization approach, called dynamic-critical reinforcement learning, is introduced to extend the standard supervised method. It always encourages to predict a more acceptable answer so as to address the convergence suppression problem occurred in traditional reinforcement learning algorithms. Extensive experiments on the Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) show that our model achieves state-of-the-art results. Meanwhile, our model outperforms previous systems by over 6% in terms of both Exact Match and F1 metrics on two adversarial SQuAD datasets.

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The current trend of extractive question answering (QA) heavily relies on the joint encoding of the document and the question. In this paper, we formalize a new modular variant of extractive QA, Phrase-Indexed Question Answering (PI-QA), that enforces complete independence of the document encoder from the question by building the standalone representation of the document discourse, a key research goal in machine reading comprehension. That is, the document encoder generates an index vector for each answer candidate phrase in the document; at inference time, each question is mapped to the same vector space and the answer with the nearest index vector is obtained. The formulation also implies a significant scalability advantage since the index vectors can be pre-computed and hashed offline for efficient retrieval. We experiment with baseline models for the new task, which achieve a reasonable accuracy but significantly underperform unconstrained QA models. We invite the QA research community to engage in PI-QA for closing the gap.

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We introduce MilkQA, a question answering dataset from the dairy domain dedicated to the study of consumer questions. The dataset contains 2,657 pairs of questions and answers, written in the Portuguese language and originally collected by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). All questions were motivated by real situations and written by thousands of authors with very different backgrounds and levels of literacy, while answers were elaborated by specialists from Embrapa's customer service. Our dataset was filtered and anonymized by three human annotators. Consumer questions are a challenging kind of question that is usually employed as a form of seeking information. Although several question answering datasets are available, most of such resources are not suitable for research on answer selection models for consumer questions. We aim to fill this gap by making MilkQA publicly available. We study the behavior of four answer selection models on MilkQA: two baseline models and two convolutional neural network archictetures. Our results show that MilkQA poses real challenges to computational models, particularly due to linguistic characteristics of its questions and to their unusually longer lengths. Only one of the experimented models gives reasonable results, at the cost of high computational requirements.

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