Retrospective Reader for Machine Reading Comprehension


  • Zhuosheng Zhang Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Junjie Yang Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Hai Zhao Shanghai Jiao Tong University



Question Answering, Information Extraction


Machine reading comprehension (MRC) is an AI challenge that requires machines to determine the correct answers to questions based on a given passage. MRC systems must not only answer questions when necessary but also tactfully abstain from answering when no answer is available according to the given passage. When unanswerable questions are involved in the MRC task, an essential verification module called verifier is especially required in addition to the encoder, though the latest practice on MRC modeling still mostly benefits from adopting well pre-trained language models as the encoder block by only focusing on the "reading". This paper devotes itself to exploring better verifier design for the MRC task with unanswerable questions. Inspired by how humans solve reading comprehension questions, we proposed a retrospective reader (Retro-Reader) that integrates two stages of reading and verification strategies: 1) sketchy reading that briefly investigates the overall interactions of passage and question, and yields an initial judgment; 2) intensive reading that verifies the answer and gives the final prediction. The proposed reader is evaluated on two benchmark MRC challenge datasets SQuAD2.0 and NewsQA, achieving new state-of-the-art results. Significance tests show that our model is significantly better than strong baselines.




How to Cite

Zhang, Z., Yang, J., & Zhao, H. (2021). Retrospective Reader for Machine Reading Comprehension. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 35(16), 14506-14514.



AAAI Technical Track on Speech and Natural Language Processing III