When translating natural language questions into SQL queries to answer questions from a database, contemporary semantic parsing models struggle to generalize to unseen database schemas. The generalization challenge lies in (a) encoding the database relations in an accessible way for the semantic parser, and (b) modeling alignment between database columns and their mentions in a given query. We present a unified framework, based on the relation-aware self-attention mechanism, to address schema encoding, schema linking, and feature representation within a text-to-SQL encoder. On the challenging Spider dataset this framework boosts the exact match accuracy to 57.2%, surpassing its best counterparts by 8.7% absolute improvement. Further augmented with BERT, it achieves the new state-of-the-art performance of 65.6% on the Spider leaderboard. In addition, we observe qualitative improvements in the model’s understanding of schema linking and alignment. Our implementation will be open-sourced at https://github.com/Microsoft/rat-sql.
We explore learning web-based tasks from a human teacher through natural language explanations and a single demonstration. Our approach investigates a new direction for semantic parsing that models explaining a demonstration in a context, rather than mapping explanations to demonstrations. By leveraging the idea of inverse semantics from program synthesis to reason backwards from observed demonstrations, we ensure that all considered interpretations are consistent with executable actions in any context, thus simplifying the problem of search over logical forms. We present a dataset of explanations paired with demonstrations for web-based tasks. Our methods show better task completion rates than a supervised semantic parsing baseline (40% relative improvement on average), and are competitive with simple exploration-and-demonstration based methods, while requiring no exploration of the environment. In learning to align explanations with demonstrations, basic properties of natural language syntax emerge as learned behavior. This is an interesting example of pragmatic language acquisition without any linguistic annotation.