What Is the Longest River in the USA? Semantic Parsing for Aggregation Questions
Answering natural language questions against structured knowledge bases (KB) has been attracting increasing attention in both IR and NLP communities. The task involves two main challenges: recognizing the questions' meanings, which are then grounded to a given KB. Targeting simple factoid questions, many existing open domain semantic parsers jointly solve these two subtasks, but are usually expensive in complexity and resources.In this paper, we propose a simple pipeline framework to efficiently answer more complicated questions, especially those implying aggregation operations, e.g., argmax, argmin.We first develop a transition-based parsing model to recognize the KB-independent meaning representation of the user's intention inherent in the question. Secondly, we apply a probabilistic model to map the meaning representation, including those aggregation functions, to a structured query.The experimental results showed that our method can better understand aggregation questions, outperforming the state-of-the-art methods on the Free917 dataset while still maintaining promising performance on a more challenging dataset, WebQuestions, without extra training.