Although open-domain question answering (QA) draws great attention in recent years, it requires large amounts of resources for building the full system and it is often difficult to reproduce previous results due to complex configurations. In this paper, we introduce SF-QA: simple and fair evaluation framework for open-domain QA. SF-QA framework modularizes the pipeline open-domain QA system, which makes the task itself easily accessible and reproducible to research groups without enough computing resources. The proposed evaluation framework is publicly available and anyone can contribute to the code and evaluations.
Text-to-image retrieval is an essential task in cross-modal information retrieval, i.e., retrieving relevant images from a large and unlabelled dataset given textual queries. In this paper, we propose VisualSparta, a novel (Visual-text Sparse Transformer Matching) model that shows significant improvement in terms of both accuracy and efficiency. VisualSparta is capable of outperforming previous state-of-the-art scalable methods in MSCOCO and Flickr30K. We also show that it achieves substantial retrieving speed advantages, i.e., for a 1 million image index, VisualSparta using CPU gets ~391X speedup compared to CPU vector search and ~5.4X speedup compared to vector search with GPU acceleration. Experiments show that this speed advantage even gets bigger for larger datasets because VisualSparta can be efficiently implemented as an inverted index. To the best of our knowledge, VisualSparta is the first transformer-based text-to-image retrieval model that can achieve real-time searching for large-scale datasets, with significant accuracy improvement compared to previous state-of-the-art methods.
We introduce SPARTA, a novel neural retrieval method that shows great promise in performance, generalization, and interpretability for open-domain question answering. Unlike many neural ranking methods that use dense vector nearest neighbor search, SPARTA learns a sparse representation that can be efficiently implemented as an Inverted Index. The resulting representation enables scalable neural retrieval that does not require expensive approximate vector search and leads to better performance than its dense counterpart. We validated our approaches on 4 open-domain question answering (OpenQA) tasks and 11 retrieval question answering (ReQA) tasks. SPARTA achieves new state-of-the-art results across a variety of open-domain question answering tasks in both English and Chinese datasets, including open SQuAD, Natuarl Question, CMRC and etc. Analysis also confirms that the proposed method creates human interpretable representation and allows flexible control over the trade-off between performance and efficiency.