Large pre-trained language models (LMs) are known to encode substantial amounts of linguistic information. However, high-level reasoning skills, such as numerical reasoning, are difficult to learn from a language-modeling objective only. Consequently, existing models for numerical reasoning have used specialized architectures with limited flexibility. In this work, we show that numerical reasoning is amenable to automatic data generation, and thus one can inject this skill into pre-trained LMs, by generating large amounts of data, and training in a multi-task setup. We show that pre-training our model, GenBERT, on this data, dramatically improves performance on DROP (49.3 –> 72.3 F1), reaching performance that matches state-of-the-art models of comparable size, while using a simple and general-purpose encoder-decoder architecture. Moreover, GenBERT generalizes well to math word problem datasets, while maintaining high performance on standard RC tasks. Our approach provides a general recipe for injecting skills into large pre-trained LMs, whenever the skill is amenable to automatic data augmentation.
Break It Down: A Question Understanding Benchmark
Tomer Wolfson | Mor Geva | Ankit Gupta | Matt Gardner | Yoav Goldberg | Daniel Deutch | Jonathan Berant
Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics, Volume 8
Understanding natural language questions entails the ability to break down a question into the requisite steps for computing its answer. In this work, we introduce a Question Decomposition Meaning Representation (QDMR) for questions. QDMR constitutes the ordered list of steps, expressed through natural language, that are necessary for answering a question. We develop a crowdsourcing pipeline, showing that quality QDMRs can be annotated at scale, and release the Break dataset, containing over 83K pairs of questions and their QDMRs. We demonstrate the utility of QDMR by showing that (a) it can be used to improve open-domain question answering on the HotpotQA dataset, (b) it can be deterministically converted to a pseudo-SQL formal language, which can alleviate annotation in semantic parsing applications. Last, we use Break to train a sequence-to-sequence model with copying that parses questions into QDMR structures, and show that it substantially outperforms several natural baselines.