Neural Compositional Denotational Semantics for Question Answering

Nitish Gupta, Mike Lewis

Feb 15, 2018 (modified: Feb 15, 2018) ICLR 2018 Conference Blind Submission readers: everyone Show Bibtex
  • Abstract: Answering compositional questions requiring multi-step reasoning is challenging for current models. We introduce an end-to-end differentiable model for interpreting questions, which is inspired by formal approaches to semantics. Each span of text is represented by a denotation in a knowledge graph, together with a vector that captures ungrounded aspects of meaning. Learned composition modules recursively combine constituents, culminating in a grounding for the complete sentence which is an answer to the question. For example, to interpret ‘not green’, the model will represent ‘green’ as a set of entities, ‘not’ as a trainable ungrounded vector, and then use this vector to parametrize a composition function to perform a complement operation. For each sentence, we build a parse chart subsuming all possible parses, allowing the model to jointly learn both the composition operators and output structure by gradient descent. We show the model can learn to represent a variety of challenging semantic operators, such as quantifiers, negation, disjunctions and composed relations on a synthetic question answering task. The model also generalizes well to longer sentences than seen in its training data, in contrast to LSTM and RelNet baselines. We will release our code.
  • TL;DR: We describe an end-to-end differentiable model for QA that learns to represent spans of text in the question as denotations in knowledge graph, by learning both neural modules for composition and the syntactic structure of the sentence.
  • Keywords: question answering, knowledge graph, compositional model, semantics