Analysing Dense Passage Retrieval for Multi-hop Question Answering

06/15/2021
by   Georgios Sidiropoulos, et al.
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We analyse the performance of passage retrieval models in the presence of complex (multi-hop) questions to provide a better understanding of how retrieval systems behave when multiple hops of reasoning are needed. In simple open-domain question answering (QA), dense passage retrieval has become one of the standard approaches for retrieving the relevant passages to infer an answer. Recently, dense passage retrieval also achieved state-of-the-art results in multi-hop QA, where aggregating information from multiple documents and reasoning over them is required. However, so far, the dense retrieval models are not evaluated properly concerning the multi-hop nature of the problem: models are typically evaluated by the end result of the retrieval pipeline, which leaves unclear where their success lies. In this work, we provide an in-depth evaluation of such models not only unveiling the reasons behind their success but also their limitations. Moreover, we introduce a hybrid (lexical and dense) retrieval approach that is highly competitive with the state-of-the-art dense retrieval model, while requiring substantially less computational resources. Furthermore, we also perform qualitative analysis to better understand the challenges behind passage retrieval for multi-hop QA.

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