Weakly Supervised Pre-Training for Multi-Hop Retriever

In multi-hop QA, answering complex questions entails iterative document retrieval for finding the missing entity of the question. The main steps of this process are sub-question detection, document retrieval for the sub-question, and generation of a new query for the final document retrieval. However, building a dataset that contains complex questions with sub-questions and their corresponding documents requires costly human annotation. To address the issue, we propose a new method for weakly supervised multi-hop retriever pre-training without human efforts. Our method includes 1) a pre-training task for generating vector representations of complex questions, 2) a scalable data generation method that produces the nested structure of question and sub-question as weak supervision for pre-training, and 3) a pre-training model structure based on dense encoders. We conduct experiments to compare the performance of our pre-trained retriever with several state-of-the-art models on end-to-end multi-hop QA as well as document retrieval. The experimental results show that our pre-trained retriever is effective and also robust on limited data and computational resources.

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