TAPEX: Table Pre-training via Learning a Neural SQL Executor

07/16/2021 ∙ by Qian Liu, et al. ∙ 0

Recent years pre-trained language models hit a success on modeling natural language sentences and (semi-)structured tables. However, existing table pre-training techniques always suffer from low data quality and low pre-training efficiency. In this paper, we show that table pre-training can be realized by learning a neural SQL executor over a synthetic corpus, which is obtained by automatically synthesizing executable SQL queries. By pre-training on the synthetic corpus, our approach TAPEX dramatically improves the performance on downstream tasks, boosting existing language models by at most 19.5 strong results when using a small pre-trained corpus. Experimental results demonstrate that TAPEX outperforms previous table pre-training approaches by a large margin, and our model achieves new state-of-the-art results on four well-known datasets, including improving the WikiSQL denotation accuracy to 89.6 SQA denotation accuracy to 74.5 (+3.6 on synthetic executable programs.

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