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Creators/Authors contains: "Sun, Huan"

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  1. Synthesizing QA pairs with a question generator (QG) on the target domain has become a popular approach for domain adaptation of question answering (QA) models. Since synthetic questions are often noisy in practice, existing work adapts scores from a pretrained QA (or QG) model as criteria to select high-quality questions. However, these scores do not directly serve the ultimate goal of improving QA performance on the target domain. In this paper, we introduce a novel idea of training a question value estimator (QVE) that directly estimates the usefulness of synthetic questions for improving the target-domain QA performance. By conducting comprehensive experiments, we show that the synthetic questions selected by QVE can help achieve better target-domain QA performance, in comparison with existing techniques. We additionally show that by using such questions and only around 15% of the human annotations on the target domain, we can achieve comparable performance to the fully-supervised baselines.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  2. Existing studies on semantic parsing focus primarily on mapping a natural-language utterance to a corresponding logical form in one turn. However, because natural language can contain a great deal of ambiguity and variability, this is a difficult challenge. In this work, we investigate an interactive semantic parsing framework that explains the predicted logical form step by step in natural language and enables the user to make corrections through natural-language feedback for individual steps. We focus on question answering over knowledge bases (KBQA) as an instantiation of our framework, aiming to increase the transparency of the parsing process and help the user appropriately trust the final answer. To do so, we construct INSPIRED, a crowdsourced dialogue dataset derived from the ComplexWebQuestions dataset. Our experiments show that the interactive framework with human feedback has the potential to greatly improve overall parse accuracy. Furthermore, we develop a pipeline for dialogue simulation to evaluate our framework w.r.t. a variety of state-of-the-art KBQA models without involving further crowdsourcing effort. The results demonstrate that our interactive semantic parsing framework promises to be effective across such models.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Clinical question answering (QA) aims to automatically answer questions from medical professionals based on clinical texts. Studies show that neural QA models trained on one corpus may not generalize well to new clinical texts from a different institute or a different patient group, where large-scale QA pairs are not readily available for model retraining. To address this challenge, we propose a simple yet effective framework, CliniQG4QA, which leverages question generation (QG) to synthesize QA pairs on new clinical contexts and boosts QA models without requiring manual annotations. In order to generate diverse types of questions that are essential for training QA models, we further introduce a seq2seq-based question phrase prediction (QPP) module that can be used together with most existing QG models to diversify the generation. Our comprehensive experiment results show that the QA corpus generated by our framework can improve QA models on the new contexts (up to 8% absolute gain in terms of Exact Match), and that the QPP module plays a crucial role in achieving the gain.
  4. We present a large, challenging dataset, COUGH, for COVID-19 FAQ retrieval. Similar to a standard FAQ dataset, COUGH consists of three parts: FAQ Bank, Query Bank and Relevance Set. The FAQ Bank contains ~16K FAQ items scraped from 55 credible websites (e.g., CDC and WHO). For evaluation, we introduce Query Bank and Relevance Set, where the former contains 1,236 human-paraphrased queries while the latter contains ~32 human-annotated FAQ items for each query. We analyze COUGH by testing different FAQ retrieval models built on top of BM25 and BERT, among which the best model achieves 48.8 under P@5, indicating a great challenge presented by COUGH and encouraging future research for further improvement. Our COUGH dataset is available at
  5. We present ReasonBert, a pre-training method that augments language models with the ability to reason over long-range relations and multiple, possibly hybrid contexts. Unlike existing pre-training methods that only harvest learning signals from local contexts of naturally occurring texts, we propose a generalized notion of distant supervision to automatically connect multiple pieces of text and tables to create pre-training examples that require long-range reasoning. Different types of reasoning are simulated, including intersecting multiple pieces of evidence, bridging from one piece of evidence to another, and detecting unanswerable cases. We conduct a comprehensive evaluation on a variety of extractive question answering datasets ranging from single-hop to multi-hop and from text-only to table-only to hybrid that require various reasoning capabilities and show that ReasonBert achieves remarkable improvement over an array of strong baselines. Few-shot experiments further demonstrate that our pre-training method substantially improves sample efficiency.