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Provably Reliable QA Interfaces. http://cs.washington.edu/research/nli. Outline. Motivation Reliable NLIs Semantic tractability theory Implementation and experiments Joint work with Ana-Maria Popescu, Alex Yates, Henry Kautz, and Dan Weld. I. The Dominant UI Paradigm.

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provably reliable qa interfaces

Provably Reliable QA Interfaces

http://cs.washington.edu/research/nli

outline
Outline
  • Motivation
  • Reliable NLIs
  • Semantic tractability theory
  • Implementation and experiments

Joint work with Ana-Maria Popescu, Alex Yates,

Henry Kautz, and Dan Weld.

Etzioni, 473

i the dominant ui paradigm
I. The Dominant UI Paradigm
  • Menu buttons
  • Hyperlinks
  • Remote controls

Just Click it!

Etzioni, 473

what to click
What to click?

Etzioni, 473

clicking breaks when
Clicking breaks when..
  • Click-challenged
    • Hands busy (driving).
    • Disabled.
  • Limited Screen/keyboard Real estate
    • Cell phones, Microwave.
    • Ubiquitous computing..
  • Complexity: SQL, shell scripts, menu hell.

Etzioni, 473

alternative interface paradigm
Alternative Interface Paradigm

Speech + NL Understanding + Agents.

  • “Where is Lord of the Rings showing?”
  • “Defrost my corn.”
  • “Delete all my old messages except the ones from Mom.”

Substantial Research Challenges!

Etzioni, 473

state of the art
State of the Art
  • Commercial Speech Systems allow single word input.
  • NLIDBs are unreliable (try Microsoft’s English Query).
  • Nontrivial Autonomous Agents that respond to complex requests?!

Etzioni, 473

ii our focus
II. Our Focus
  • Not speech.
  • 1991 – 1997: built softbots.
  • Today:

Reliable Natural Language Interfaces

Etzioni, 473

why reliable
Why Reliable?

Imagine “intelligent” interfaces that..

  • Sometimes delete the wrong file.
  • Can report incorrect flight times.

AI cannot be an excuse for incompetence

(Norman, Schneiderman).

Etzioni, 473

some common objections
Some Common Objections
  • Can’t the interface just confirm?
    • Yes, but will users attend?
  • Speech understanding isn’t reliable.
    • That will gradually change.
    • Still need reliable language module.
  • NL understanding is AI-complete!

Etzioni, 473

iii semantics is hard
III. Semantics is hard
  • Syntactic, scopal ambiguity
  • Word-sense ambiguity
  • Time, events, liquids, holes,…
  • Shakespeare, Faulkner,…
  • Discourse, Pragmatics (speech acts)

We have to think about tractable classes!

Etzioni, 473

our basic hypothesis
Our Basic Hypothesis

There are common situations where Semantic Interpretation is tractable.

Sentence  Target expression

Etzioni, 473

our research strategy
Our Research Strategy
  • Identify easy-to-understand NL sentences.
  • Develop Taxonomic Theory of Semantic Tractability.
  • Build Reliable NLIs.
  • Test NLIs experimentally.

Etzioni, 473

semantic tractability
Semantic Tractability

Easy to understand questions:

What are the Chinese restaurants in Seattle?

What Microsoft jobs require 2 years of experience?

What rivers run through Texas?

Semantically tractable questions

are quite common: 77.5% - 97%

Etzioni, 473

semantic intractability
Semantic Intractability

Q: What is the second highest mountain in the US?

A: The word ‘second’ is unknown; please rephrase your query.

Q: What are the states bordering the states bordering the states bordering Montana?

A: huh?

Etzioni, 473

semantically tractable qs
Semantically Tractable Qs

Given a lexicon and a parse, IF

  • Q contains at least one wh-word.
  • There exists a valid mapping from Q to a set of database elements.
  • Q maps to a nonrecursive datalog clause.

THENQ is Semantically Tractable.

Etzioni, 473

valid mapping
Valid Mapping

Words (phrases) DB elements.

  • Lexical constraints: Lord of the Rings.
  • Attachment constraints:
    • What is the population of Atlanta?
  • Semantic constraints:
    • Attributes need values: Cuisine  Chinese.
    • Values can have implicit attributes.

Etzioni, 473

guarantees on st qs
Guarantees on ST Qs.

Precise = NLIDB implementation.

  • Precise can detect ST Qs.
  • Precise is sound for ST Qs.
  • Precise is complete for ST Qs.

Will Precise capture “user intent?”

Etzioni, 473

iv precise implementation
IV. Precise Implementation
  • Lexicon extracted from DB + Wordnet.
  • Parser plug in (Charniak 2000).
  • Semantic constraints via graph match.
    • Word1 DB_EL1
    • Phrase2 DB_EL2

DB_EL3

Match is computed via maxflow.

Etzioni, 473

slide20
PRECISE graph representation

DB Values

DB Attributes

Attribute

Tokens

Value

Tokens

Movies = what

Movies

film

What

Actor = Woody Allen

Actor

E

S

Woody Allen

Director = Woody Allen

Director

I

K

2

Paul Mazursky

Director = Paul Mazursky

“What are the Paul Mazursky films with Woody Allen?”

Etzioni, 473

slide21
PRECISE Architecture

Database

Lexicon

Parser

Tokenizer

Matcher

Query Generator

Equivalence Checker

English Question

SQL Query + Answer Set

Etzioni, 473

ambiguity meets reliability
Ambiguity meets Reliability
  • Precise computes all valid mappings.
  • Many possibilities  clarifying Q.
  • What is the population of New York?
    • The population of New York City is…
    • The population of New York State is..

Etzioni, 473

experiments
Experiments

Systems

Mooney, PRECISE, EnglishQuery

Datasets

Sets of NL questions labeled with SQL queries

Geography (846) Jobs (577) Restaurants (224)

Measure

PRECISE’s performance

Prevalence of semantically tractable questions

Etzioni, 473

slide24
Fraction Answered

Recall = Qanswered/Q

Recall > 75 %

Etzioni, 473

slide25
Error Rate

Precision = Qcorrect/Qanswered

PRECISE made no mistakes on semantically tractable questions

Etzioni, 473

exact case study
Exact – Case Study
  • Exact is an NLI to the Panasonic KX-TC1040W telephone/answering machine
  • It uses Precise to formulate goals for the Blackbox planner (Kautz & Selman)
  • The database model for the phone has 5 relations (between 2 and 11 attributes each) and the action set includes 37 actions.

Etzioni, 473

exact diagram
Exact – Diagram

Etzioni, 473

conclusion
Conclusion
  • Click-it UI paradigm is fraying.
  • Need reliable NLIs.
  • Semantically Tractable sentences.
    • Taxonomic Theory.
    • Precise and Exact implementations.
    • Promising, preliminary experiments.

Etzioni, 473

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