ICLR 2018  ·  Yang Liu, Matt Gardner ·

Many tasks in natural language processing involve comparing two sentences to compute some notion of relevance, entailment, or similarity. Typically this comparison is done either at the word level or at the sentence level, with no attempt to leverage the inherent structure of the sentence... When sentence structure is used for comparison, it is obtained during a non-differentiable pre-processing step, leading to propagation of errors. We introduce a model of structured alignments between sentences, showing how to compare two sentences by matching their latent structures. Using a structured attention mechanism, our model matches possible spans in the first sentence to possible spans in the second sentence, simultaneously discovering the tree structure of each sentence and performing a comparison, in a model that is fully differentiable and is trained only on the comparison objective. We evaluate this model on two sentence comparison tasks: the Stanford natural language inference dataset and the TREC-QA dataset. We find that comparing spans results in superior performance to comparing words individually, and that the learned trees are consistent with actual linguistic structures. read more

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