We introduce an evaluation methodology for visual question answering (VQA) to better diagnose cases of shortcut learning. These cases happen when a model exploits spurious statistical regularities to produce correct answers but does not actually deploy the desired behavior. There is a need to identify possible shortcuts in a dataset and assess their use before deploying a model in the real world. The research community in VQA has focused exclusively on question-based shortcuts, where a model might, for example, answer "What is the color of the sky" with "blue" by relying mostly on the question-conditional training prior and give little weight to visual evidence. We go a step further and consider multimodal shortcuts that involve both questions and images. We first identify potential shortcuts in the popular VQA v2 training set by mining trivial predictive rules such as co-occurrences of words and visual elements. We then create VQA-CE, a new evaluation set made of CounterExamples i.e. questions where the mined rules lead to incorrect answers. We use this new evaluation in a large-scale study of existing models. We demonstrate that even state-of-the-art models perform poorly and that existing techniques to reduce biases are largely ineffective in this context. Our findings suggest that past work on question-based biases in VQA has only addressed one facet of a complex issue. The code for our method is available at https://github.com/cdancette/detect-shortcuts

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Despite recent advances in Visual QuestionAnswering (VQA), it remains a challenge todetermine how much success can be attributedto sound reasoning and comprehension ability.We seek to investigate this question by propos-ing a new task ofrationale generation. Es-sentially, we task a VQA model with generat-ing rationales for the answers it predicts. Weuse data from the Visual Commonsense Rea-soning (VCR) task, as it contains ground-truthrationales along with visual questions and an-swers. We first investigate commonsense un-derstanding in one of the leading VCR mod-els, ViLBERT, by generating rationales frompretrained weights using a state-of-the-art lan-guage model, GPT-2. Next, we seek to jointlytrain ViLBERT with GPT-2 in an end-to-endfashion with the dual task of predicting the an-swer in VQA and generating rationales. Weshow that this kind of training injects com-monsense understanding in the VQA modelthrough quantitative and qualitative evaluationmetrics

The Visual Question Answering (VQA) task combines challenges for processing data with both Visual and Linguistic processing, to answer basic `common sense' questions about given images. Given an image and a question in natural language, the VQA system tries to find the correct answer to it using visual elements of the image and inference gathered from textual questions. In this survey, we cover and discuss the recent datasets released in the VQA domain dealing with various types of question-formats and enabling robustness of the machine-learning models. Next, we discuss about new deep learning models that have shown promising results over the VQA datasets. At the end, we present and discuss some of the results computed by us over the vanilla VQA models, Stacked Attention Network and the VQA Challenge 2017 winner model. We also provide the detailed analysis along with the challenges and future research directions.

Question Answering has recently received high attention from artificial intelligence communities due to the advancements in learning technologies. Early question answering models used rule-based approaches and moved to the statistical approach to address the vastly available information. However, statistical approaches are shown to underperform in handling the dynamic nature and the variation of language. Therefore, learning models have shown the capability of handling the dynamic nature and variations in language. Many deep learning methods have been introduced to question answering. Most of the deep learning approaches have shown to achieve higher results compared to machine learning and statistical methods. The dynamic nature of language has profited from the nonlinear learning in deep learning. This has created prominent success and a spike in work on question answering. This paper discusses the successes and challenges in question answering question answering systems and techniques that are used in these challenges.

In this paper, we investigate the challenges of using reinforcement learning agents for question-answering over knowledge graphs for real-world applications. We examine the performance metrics used by state-of-the-art systems and determine that they are inadequate for such settings. More specifically, they do not evaluate the systems correctly for situations when there is no answer available and thus agents optimized for these metrics are poor at modeling confidence. We introduce a simple new performance metric for evaluating question-answering agents that is more representative of practical usage conditions, and optimize for this metric by extending the binary reward structure used in prior work to a ternary reward structure which also rewards an agent for not answering a question rather than giving an incorrect answer. We show that this can drastically improve the precision of answered questions while only not answering a limited number of previously correctly answered questions. Employing a supervised learning strategy using depth-first-search paths to bootstrap the reinforcement learning algorithm further improves performance.

Visual question answering (VQA) demands simultaneous comprehension of both the image visual content and natural language questions. In some cases, the reasoning needs the help of common sense or general knowledge which usually appear in the form of text. Current methods jointly embed both the visual information and the textual feature into the same space. However, how to model the complex interactions between the two different modalities is not an easy task. In contrast to struggling on multimodal feature fusion, in this paper, we propose to unify all the input information by natural language so as to convert VQA into a machine reading comprehension problem. With this transformation, our method not only can tackle VQA datasets that focus on observation based questions, but can also be naturally extended to handle knowledge-based VQA which requires to explore large-scale external knowledge base. It is a step towards being able to exploit large volumes of text and natural language processing techniques to address VQA problem. Two types of models are proposed to deal with open-ended VQA and multiple-choice VQA respectively. We evaluate our models on three VQA benchmarks. The comparable performance with the state-of-the-art demonstrates the effectiveness of the proposed method.

One of the main challenges in ranking is embedding the query and document pairs into a joint feature space, which can then be fed to a learning-to-rank algorithm. To achieve this representation, the conventional state of the art approaches perform extensive feature engineering that encode the similarity of the query-answer pair. Recently, deep-learning solutions have shown that it is possible to achieve comparable performance, in some settings, by learning the similarity representation directly from data. Unfortunately, previous models perform poorly on longer texts, or on texts with significant portion of irrelevant information, or which are grammatically incorrect. To overcome these limitations, we propose a novel ranking algorithm for question answering, QARAT, which uses an attention mechanism to learn on which words and phrases to focus when building the mutual representation. We demonstrate superior ranking performance on several real-world question-answer ranking datasets, and provide visualization of the attention mechanism to otter more insights into how our models of attention could benefit ranking for difficult question answering challenges.

We analyze state-of-the-art deep learning models for three tasks: question answering on (1) images, (2) tables, and (3) passages of text. Using the notion of \emph{attribution} (word importance), we find that these deep networks often ignore important question terms. Leveraging such behavior, we perturb questions to craft a variety of adversarial examples. Our strongest attacks drop the accuracy of a visual question answering model from $61.1\%$ to $19\%$, and that of a tabular question answering model from $33.5\%$ to $3.3\%$. Additionally, we show how attributions can strengthen attacks proposed by Jia and Liang (2017) on paragraph comprehension models. Our results demonstrate that attributions can augment standard measures of accuracy and empower investigation of model performance. When a model is accurate but for the wrong reasons, attributions can surface erroneous logic in the model that indicates inadequacies in the test data.

A popular recent approach to answering open-domain questions is to first search for question-related passages and then apply reading comprehension models to extract answers. Existing methods usually extract answers from single passages independently. But some questions require a combination of evidence from across different sources to answer correctly. In this paper, we propose two models which make use of multiple passages to generate their answers. Both use an answer-reranking approach which reorders the answer candidates generated by an existing state-of-the-art QA model. We propose two methods, namely, strength-based re-ranking and coverage-based re-ranking, to make use of the aggregated evidence from different passages to better determine the answer. Our models have achieved state-of-the-art results on three public open-domain QA datasets: Quasar-T, SearchQA and the open-domain version of TriviaQA, with about 8 percentage points of improvement over the former two datasets.

Bar charts are an effective way for humans to convey information to each other, but today's algorithms cannot parse them. Existing methods fail when faced with minor variations in appearance. Here, we present DVQA, a dataset that tests many aspects of bar chart understanding in a question answering framework. Unlike visual question answering (VQA), DVQA requires processing words and answers that are unique to a particular bar chart. State-of-the-art VQA algorithms perform poorly on DVQA, and we propose two strong baselines that perform considerably better. Our work will enable algorithms to automatically extract semantic information from vast quantities of literature in science, business, and other areas.

We propose the task of free-form and open-ended Visual Question Answering (VQA). Given an image and a natural language question about the image, the task is to provide an accurate natural language answer. Mirroring real-world scenarios, such as helping the visually impaired, both the questions and answers are open-ended. Visual questions selectively target different areas of an image, including background details and underlying context. As a result, a system that succeeds at VQA typically needs a more detailed understanding of the image and complex reasoning than a system producing generic image captions. Moreover, VQA is amenable to automatic evaluation, since many open-ended answers contain only a few words or a closed set of answers that can be provided in a multiple-choice format. We provide a dataset containing ~0.25M images, ~0.76M questions, and ~10M answers (www.visualqa.org), and discuss the information it provides. Numerous baselines and methods for VQA are provided and compared with human performance. Our VQA demo is available on CloudCV (http://cloudcv.org/vqa).

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