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Answering Conversational Questions on Structured Data without Logical Forms

Thomas Müller
Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, Association for Computational Linguistics (2019)


We present a novel approach to answering sequential questions based on structured objects such as knowledge bases or tables without using a logical form as an intermediate representation. We encode tables as graphs using a graph neural network model based on the Transformer architecture. The answers are then selected from the encoded graph using a pointer network. This model is appropriate for processing conversations around structured data, where the attention mechanism that selects the answer to a question can also be used to resolve conversational references. We demonstrate the validity of this approach with competitive results on the Sequential Question Answering task (SQA) (Iyyer et al., 2017).