Injecting Numerical Reasoning Skills into Language Models

ACL 2020  ·  Mor Geva, Ankit Gupta, Jonathan Berant ·

Large pre-trained language models (LMs) are known to encode substantial amounts of linguistic information. However, high-level reasoning skills, such as numerical reasoning, are difficult to learn from a language-modeling objective only. Consequently, existing models for numerical reasoning have used specialized architectures with limited flexibility. In this work, we show that numerical reasoning is amenable to automatic data generation, and thus one can inject this skill into pre-trained LMs, by generating large amounts of data, and training in a multi-task setup. We show that pre-training our model, GenBERT, on this data, dramatically improves performance on DROP (49.3 $\rightarrow$ 72.3 F1), reaching performance that matches state-of-the-art models of comparable size, while using a simple and general-purpose encoder-decoder architecture. Moreover, GenBERT generalizes well to math word problem datasets, while maintaining high performance on standard RC tasks. Our approach provides a general recipe for injecting skills into large pre-trained LMs, whenever the skill is amenable to automatic data augmentation.

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Results from the Paper

Task Dataset Model Metric Name Metric Value Global Rank Result Benchmark
Question Answering DROP Test GenBERT (+ND+TD) F1 72.4 # 7


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