Question Answering over Electronic Devices: A New Benchmark Dataset and a Multi-Task Learning based QA Framework

A. Nandy, S. Sharma, S. Maddhashiya, K. Sachdeva, P. Goyal, and N. Ganguly. Association for Computational Linguistics, (2021)


Answering questions asked from instructional corpora such as E-manuals, recipe books, etc., has been far less studied than open-domain factoid context-based question answering. This can be primarily attributed to the absence of standard benchmark datasets. In this paper, we meticulously create a large amount of data connected with E-manuals and develop a suitable algorithm to exploit it. We collect E-Manual Corpus, a huge corpus of 307,957 E-manuals, and pretrain RoBERTa on this large corpus. We create various benchmark QA datasets which include question answer pairs curated by experts based upon two E-manuals, real user questions from Community Question Answering Forum pertaining to E-manuals etc. We introduce EMQAP (E-Manual Question Answering Pipeline) that answers questions pertaining to electronics devices. Built upon the pretrained RoBERTa, it harbors a supervised multi-task learning framework which efficiently performs the dual tasks of identifying the section in the E-manual where the answer can be found and the exact answer span within that section. For E-Manual annotated question-answer pairs, we show an improvement of about 40% in ROUGE-L F1 scores over most competitive baseline. We perform a detailed ablation study and establish the versatility of EMQAP across different circumstances. The code and datasets are shared at https://github.com/abhi1nandy2/EMNLP-2021-Findings, and the corresponding project website is https://sites.google.com/view/emanualqa/home.

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