In this paper, we introduce a novel methodology to efficiently construct a corpus for question answering over structured data. For this, we introduce an intermediate representation that is based on the logical query plan in a database called Operation Trees (OT). This representation allows us to invert the annotation process without losing flexibility in the types of queries that we generate. Furthermore, it allows for fine-grained alignment of query tokens to OT operations. In our method, we randomly generate OTs from a context-free grammar. Afterwards, annotators have to write the appropriate natural language question that is represented by the OT. Finally, the annotators assign the tokens to the OT operations. We apply the method to create a new corpus OTTA (Operation Trees and Token Assignment), a large semantic parsing corpus for evaluating natural language interfaces to databases. We compare OTTA to Spider and LC-QuaD 2.0 and show that our methodology more than triples the annotation speed while maintaining the complexity of the queries. Finally, we train a state-of-the-art semantic parsing model on our data and show that our corpus is a challenging dataset and that the token alignment can be leveraged to increase the performance significantly.
Speakers: Jan Deriu, Katsiaryna Mlynchyk, Philippe Schläpfer, Alvaro Rodrigo, Dirk von Grünigen, Nicolas Kaiser, Kurt Stockinger, Eneko Agirre, Mark Cieliebak