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The University of Texas at Dallas HLTRI's Participation in EPIC-QA: Searching for Entailed Questions Revealing Novel Answer Nuggets

by   Maxwell Weinzierl, et al.
The University of Texas at Dallas

The Epidemic Question Answering (EPIC-QA) track at the Text Analysis Conference (TAC) is an evaluation of methodologies for answering ad-hoc questions about the COVID-19 disease. This paper describes our participation in both tasks of EPIC-QA, targeting: (1) Expert QA and (2) Consumer QA. Our methods used a multi-phase neural Information Retrieval (IR) system based on combining BM25, BERT, and T5 as well as the idea of considering entailment relations between the original question and questions automatically generated from answer candidate sentences. Moreover, because entailment relations were also considered between all generated questions, we were able to re-rank the answer sentences based on the number of novel answer nuggets they contained, as indicated by the processing of a question entailment graph. Our system, called SEaRching for Entailed QUestions revealing NOVel nuggets of Answers (SER4EQUNOVA), produced promising results in both EPIC-QA tasks, excelling in the Expert QA task.


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