In this paper, we present CorefQA, an accurate and extensible approach for the coreference resolution task. We formulate the problem as a span prediction task, like in question answering: A query is generated for each candidate mention using its surrounding context, and a span prediction module is employed to extract the text spans of the coreferences within the document using the generated query. This formulation comes with the following key advantages: (1) The span prediction strategy provides the flexibility of retrieving mentions left out at the mention proposal stage; (2) In the question answering framework, encoding the mention and its context explicitly in a query makes it possible to have a deep and thorough examination of cues embedded in the context of coreferent mentions; and (3) A plethora of existing question answering datasets can be used for data augmentation to improve the model’s generalization capability. Experiments demonstrate significant performance boost over previous models, with 83.1 (+3.5) F1 score on the CoNLL-2012 benchmark and 87.5 (+2.5) F1 score on the GAP benchmark.
The current state of the art for First Story Detection (FSD) are nearest neighbour-based models with traditional term vector representations; however, one challenge faced by FSD models is that the document representation is usually defined by the vocabulary and term frequency from a background corpus. Consequently, the ideal background corpus should arguably be both large-scale to ensure adequate term coverage, and similar to the target domain in terms of the language distribution. However, given these two factors cannot always be mutually satisfied, in this paper we examine whether the distributional similarity of common terms is more important than the scale of common terms for FSD. As a basis for our analysis we propose a set of metrics to quantitatively measure the scale of common terms and the distributional similarity between corpora. Using these metrics we rank different background corpora relative to a target corpus. We also apply models based on different background corpora to the FSD task. Our results show that term distributional similarity is more predictive of good FSD performance than the scale of common terms; and, thus we demonstrate that a smaller recent domain-related corpus will be more suitable than a very large-scale general corpus for FSD.