MathDQN: Solving Arithmetic Word Problems via Deep Reinforcement Learning


  • Lei Wang UESTC
  • Dongxiang Zhang UESTC
  • Lianli Gao UESTC
  • Jingkuan Song UESTC
  • Long Guo Peking University
  • Heng Tao Shen UESTC



Designing an automatic solver for math word problems has been considered as a crucial step towards general AI, with the ability of natural language understanding and logical inference. The state-of-the-art performance was achieved by enumerating all the possible expressions from the quantities in the text and customizing a scoring function to identify the one with the maximum probability. However, it incurs exponential search space with the number of quantities and beam search has to be applied to trade accuracy for efficiency.
In this paper, we make the first attempt of applying deep reinforcement learning to solve arithmetic word problems. The motivation is that deep Q-network has witnessed success in solving various problems with big search space and achieves promising performance in terms of both accuracy and running time. To fit the math problem scenario, we propose our MathDQN that is customized from the general deep reinforcement learning framework. Technically, we design the states, actions, reward function, together with a feed-forward neural network as the deep Q-network. Extensive experimental results validate our superiority over state-of-the-art methods. Our MathDQN yields remarkable improvement on most of datasets and boosts the average precision among all the benchmark datasets by 15\%.




How to Cite

Wang, L., Zhang, D., Gao, L., Song, J., Guo, L., & Shen, H. T. (2018). MathDQN: Solving Arithmetic Word Problems via Deep Reinforcement Learning. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 32(1).