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Grounded Unsupervised Semantic Parsing

Hoifung Poon

The 51st Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL 2013)
Sofia, Bulgaria, August 4-9, 2013


We present the first unsupervised approach for semantic parsing that rivals the accuracy of supervised approaches in translating natural-language questions to database queries. Our GUSP system produces a semantic parse by annotating the dependency-tree nodes and edges with latent states, and learns a probabilistic grammar using EM. To compensate for the lack of example annotations or question-answer pairs, GUSP adopts a novel grounded-learning approach to leverage the database content for indirect supervision. On the challenging ATIS dataset, GUSP attained an accuracy of 84%, effectively tying with the best published results by supervised approaches.

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