Transformer-based QA models use input-wide self-attention – i.e. across both the question and the input passage – at all layers, causing them to be slow and memory-intensive. It turns out that we can get by without input-wide self-attention at all layers, especially in the lower layers. We introduce DeFormer, a decomposed transformer, which substitutes the full self-attention with question-wide and passage-wide self-attentions in the lower layers. This allows for question-independent processing of the input text representations, which in turn enables pre-computing passage representations reducing runtime compute drastically. Furthermore, because DeFormer is largely similar to the original model, we can initialize DeFormer with the pre-training weights of a standard transformer, and directly fine-tune on the target QA dataset. We show DeFormer versions of BERT and XLNet can be used to speed up QA by over 4.3x and with simple distillation-based losses they incur only a 1% drop in accuracy. We open source the code at https://github.com/StonyBrookNLP/deformer.
Has there been real progress in multi-hop question-answering? Models often exploit dataset artifacts to produce correct answers, without connecting information across multiple supporting facts. This limits our ability to measure true progress and defeats the purpose of building multi-hop QA datasets. We make three contributions towards addressing this. First, we formalize such undesirable behavior as disconnected reasoning across subsets of supporting facts. This allows developing a model-agnostic probe for measuring how much any model can cheat via disconnected reasoning. Second, using a notion of contrastive support sufficiency, we introduce an automatic transformation of existing datasets that reduces the amount of disconnected reasoning. Third, our experiments suggest that there hasn’t been much progress in multi-hop QA in the reading comprehension setting. For a recent large-scale model (XLNet), we show that only 18 points out of its answer F1 score of 72 on HotpotQA are obtained through multifact reasoning, roughly the same as that of a simpler RNN baseline. Our transformation substantially reduces disconnected reasoning (19 points in answer F1). It is complementary to adversarial approaches, yielding further reductions in conjunction.
Question Answering (QA) naturally reduces to an entailment problem, namely, verifying whether some text entails the answer to a question. However, for multi-hop QA tasks, which require reasoning with multiple sentences, it remains unclear how best to utilize entailment models pre-trained on large scale datasets such as SNLI, which are based on sentence pairs. We introduce Multee, a general architecture that can effectively use entailment models for multi-hop QA tasks. Multee uses (i) a local module that helps locate important sentences, thereby avoiding distracting information, and (ii) a global module that aggregates information by effectively incorporating importance weights. Importantly, we show that both modules can use entailment functions pre-trained on a large scale NLI datasets. We evaluate performance on MultiRC and OpenBookQA, two multihop QA datasets. When using an entailment function pre-trained on NLI datasets, Multee outperforms QA models trained only on the target QA datasets and the OpenAI transformer models.