Merging Weak and Active Supervision for Semantic Parsing


  • Ansong Ni Carnegie Mellon University
  • Pengcheng Yin Carnegie Mellon University
  • Graham Neubig Carnegie Mellon University



A semantic parser maps natural language commands (NLs) from the users to executable meaning representations (MRs), which are later executed in certain environment to obtain user-desired results. The fully-supervised training of such parser requires NL/MR pairs, annotated by domain experts, which makes them expensive to collect. However, weakly-supervised semantic parsers are learnt only from pairs of NL and expected execution results, leaving the MRs latent. While weak supervision is cheaper to acquire, learning from this input poses difficulties. It demands that parsers search a large space with a very weak learning signal and it is hard to avoid spurious MRs that achieve the correct answer in the wrong way. These factors lead to a performance gap between parsers trained in weakly- and fully-supervised setting. To bridge this gap, we examine the intersection between weak supervision and active learning, which allows the learner to actively select examples and query for manual annotations as extra supervision to improve the model trained under weak supervision. We study different active learning heuristics for selecting examples to query, and various forms of extra supervision for such queries. We evaluate the effectiveness of our method on two different datasets. Experiments on the WikiSQL show that by annotating only 1.8% of examples, we improve over a state-of-the-art weakly-supervised baseline by 6.4%, achieving an accuracy of 79.0%, which is only 1.3% away from the model trained with full supervision. Experiments on WikiTableQuestions with human annotators show that our method can improve the performance with only 100 active queries, especially for weakly-supervised parsers learnt from a cold start. 1




How to Cite

Ni, A., Yin, P., & Neubig, G. (2020). Merging Weak and Active Supervision for Semantic Parsing. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 34(05), 8536-8543.



AAAI Technical Track: Natural Language Processing