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FeTaQA: Free-form Table Question Answering


Existing table question answering datasets contain abundant factual questions that primarily evaluate a QA system’s comprehension of query and tabular data. However, restricted by their short-form answers, these datasets fail to include question-answer interactions that represent more advanced and naturally occurring information needs: questions that ask for reasoning and integration of information pieces retrieved from a structured knowledge source. To complement the existing datasets and to reveal the challenging nature of the table-based question answering task, we introduce FeTaQA, a new dataset with 10K Wikipedia-based {table, question, free-form answer, supporting table cells} pairs. FeTaQA is collected from noteworthy descriptions of Wikipedia tables which contain information people tend to seek; generation of these descriptions requires advanced processing that humans perform on a daily basis: understand the question and table, retrieve, integrate, infer, and conduct text planning and surface realization to generate an answer. We provide two benchmark methods for the proposed task: a pipeline method based on semantic parsing-based QA systems and an end-to-end method based on large pretrained text generation models, and show that FeTaQA poses a challenge for both methods
Article at MIT Press Presented at ACL 2022