LEMON: Language-Based Environment Manipulation via Execution-Guided Pre-training
Language-based environment manipulation requires agents to manipulate the environment following natural language instructions, which is challenging due to the huge space of the environments. To address this challenge, various approaches have been proposed in recent work. Although these approaches work well for their intended environments, they are difficult to generalize across environments. In this work, we propose LEMON, a general framework for language-based environment manipulation tasks. Specifically, we first specify a task-agnostic approach for language-based environment manipulation tasks, which can deal with various environments using the same generative language model. Then we propose an execution-guided pre-training strategy to inject prior knowledge of environments to the language model with a pure synthetic pre-training corpus. Experimental results on tasks including Alchemy, Scene, Tangrams, ProPara and Recipes demonstrate the effectiveness of LEMON: it achieves new state-of-the-art results on four of the tasks, and the execution-guided pre-training strategy brings remarkable improvements on all experimental tasks.
TIARA: Multi-grained Retrieval for Robust Question Answering over Large Knowledge Bases
Pre-trained language models (PLMs) have shown their effectiveness in multiple scenarios. However, KBQA remains challenging, especially regarding coverage and generalization settings. This is due to two main factors: i) understanding the semantics of both questions and relevant knowledge from the KB; ii) generating executable logical forms with both semantic and syntactic correctness. In this paper, we present a new KBQA model, TIARA, which addresses those issues by applying multi-grained retrieval to help the PLM focus on the most relevant KB contexts, viz., entities, exemplary logical forms, and schema items. Moreover, constrained decoding is used to control the output space and reduce generation errors. Experiments over important benchmarks demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach. TIARA outperforms previous SOTA, including those using PLMs or oracle entity annotations, by at least 4.1 and 1.1 F1 points on GrailQA and WebQuestionsSP, respectively. Code is available at https://github.com/microsoft/KC/tree/main/papers/TIARA.
SPINE: A Scalable Log Parser with Feedback Guidance
Log parsing, which extracts log templates and parameters, is a critical prerequisite step for automated log analysis techniques. Though existing log parsers have achieved promising accuracy on public log datasets, they still face many challenges when applied in the industry. Through studying the characteristics of real-world log data and analyzing the limitations of existing log parsers, we identify two problems. Firstly, it is non-trivial to scale a log parser to a vast number of logs, especially in real-world scenarios where the log data is extremely imbalanced. Secondly, existing log parsers overlook the importance of user feedback, which is imperative for parser fine-tuning under the continuous evolution of log data. To overcome the challenges, we propose SPINE, which is a highly scalable log parser with user feedback guidance. Based on our log parser equipped with initial grouping and progressive clustering,we propose a novel log data scheduling algorithm to improve the efficiency of parallelization under the large-scale imbalanced log data. Besides, we introduce user feedback to make the parser fast adapt to the evolving logs. We evaluated SPINE on 16 public log datasets. SPINE achieves more than 0.90 parsing accuracy on average with the highest parsing efficiency, which outperforms the state-of-the-art log parsers. We also evaluated SPINE in the production environment of Microsoft, in which SPINE can parse 30million logs in less than 8 minutes under 16 executors, achieving near real-time performance. In addition, our evaluations show that SPINE can consistently achieve good accuracy under log evolution with a moderate number of user feedback.
Towards Robust Numerical Question Answering: Diagnosing Numerical Capabilities of NLP Systems
Numerical Question Answering is the task of answering questions that require numerical capabilities. Previous works introduce general adversarial attacks to Numerical Question Answering, while not systematically exploring numerical capabilities specific to the topic. In this paper, we propose to conduct numerical capability diagnosis on a series of Numerical Question Answering systems and datasets. A series of numerical capabilities are highlighted, and corresponding dataset perturbations are designed. Empirical results indicate that existing systems are severely challenged by these perturbations. E.g., Graph2Tree experienced a 53.83% absolute accuracy drop against the “Extra” perturbation on ASDiv-a, and BART experienced 13.80% accuracy drop against the “Language” perturbation on the numerical subset of DROP. As a counteracting approach, we also investigate the effectiveness of applying perturbations as data augmentation to relieve systems’ lack of robust numerical capabilities. With experiment analysis and empirical studies, it is demonstrated that Numerical Question Answering with robust numerical capabilities is still to a large extent an open question. We discuss future directions of Numerical Question Answering and summarize guidelines on future dataset collection and system design.
FormLM: Recommending Creation Ideas for Online Forms by Modelling Semantic and Structural Information
Online forms are widely used to collect data from human and have a multi-billion market. Many software products provide online services for creating semi-structured forms where questions and descriptions are organized by predefined structures. However, the design and creation process of forms is still tedious and requires expert knowledge. To assist form designers, in this work we present FormLM to model online forms (by enhancing pre-trained language model with form structural information) and recommend form creation ideas (including question / options recommendations and block type suggestion). For model training and evaluation, we collect the first public online form dataset with 62K online forms. Experiment results show that FormLM significantly outperforms general-purpose language models on all tasks, with an improvement by 4.71 on Question Recommendation and 10.6 on Block Type Suggestion in terms of ROUGE-1 and Macro-F1, respectively.
A Disaggregate Data Collecting Approach for Loss-Tolerant Applications
Datacenter generates operation data at an extremely high rate, and data center operators collect and analyze them for problem diagnosis, resource utilization improvement, and performance optimization. However, existing data collection methods fail to efficiently aggregate and store data at extremely high speed and scale. In this paper, we explore a new approach that leverages programmable switches to aggregate data and directly write data to the destination storage. Our proposed data collection system, ALT, uses programmable switches to control NVMe SSDs on remote hosts without the involvement of a remote CPU. To tolerate loss, ALT uses an elegant data structure to enable efficient data recovery when retrieving the collected data. We implement our system on a Tofino-based programmable switch for a prototype. Our evaluation shows that ALT can saturate SSD’s peak performance without any CPU involvement.
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