Is a Question Decomposition Unit All We Need?

Pruthvi Patel, Swaroop Mishra, Mihir Parmar, Chitta Baral

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Large Language Models (LMs) have achieved state-of-the-art performance on many Natural Language Processing (NLP) benchmarks. With the growing number of new benchmarks, we build bigger and more complex LMs. However, building new LMs may not be an ideal option owing to the cost, time and environmental impact associated with it. We explore an alternative route: can we modify data by expressing it in terms of the model's strengths, so that a question becomes easier for models to answer? We investigate if humans can decompose a hard question into a set of simpler questions that are relatively easier for models to solve. We analyze a range of datasets involving various forms of reasoning and find that it is indeed possible to significantly improve model performance (24% for GPT3 and 29% for RoBERTa-SQuAD along with a symbolic calculator) via decomposition. Our approach provides a viable option to involve people in NLP research in a meaningful way. Our findings indicate that Human-in-the-loop Question Decomposition (HQD) can potentially provide an alternate path to building large LMs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes
Event2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022 - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Dec 7 2022Dec 11 2022


Conference2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems


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