NLProlog: Reasoning with Weak Unification for Natural Language Question Answering

Sep 27, 2018 ICLR 2019 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Symbolic logic allows practitioners to build systems that perform rule-based reasoning which is interpretable and which can easily be augmented with prior knowledge. However, such systems are traditionally difficult to apply to problems involving natural language due to the large linguistic variability of language. Currently, most work in natural language processing focuses on neural networks which learn distributed representations of words and their composition, thereby performing well in the presence of large linguistic variability. We propose to reap the benefits of both approaches by applying a combination of neural networks and logic programming to natural language question answering. We propose to employ an external, non-differentiable Prolog prover which utilizes a similarity function over pretrained sentence encoders. We fine-tune these representations via Evolution Strategies with the goal of multi-hop reasoning on natural language. This allows us to create a system that can apply rule-based reasoning to natural language and induce domain-specific natural language rules from training data. We evaluate the proposed system on two different question answering tasks, showing that it complements two very strong baselines – BIDAF (Seo et al., 2016a) and FASTQA (Weissenborn et al.,2017) – and outperforms both when used in an ensemble.
  • Keywords: symbolic reasoning, neural networks, natural language processing, question answering, sentence embeddings, evolution strategies
  • TL;DR: We introduce NLProlog, a system that performs rule-based reasoning on natural language by leveraging pretrained sentence embeddings and fine-tuning with Evolution Strategies, and apply it to two multi-hop Question Answering tasks.
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