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Dettaglio pubblicazione

2021, PROCEEDINGS OF THE VLDB ENDOWMENT, Pages 1033-1039 (volume: 14)

From Natural Language Processing to Neural Databases (01a Articolo in rivista)

Thorne James, Yazdani Majid, Saeidi Marzieh, Silvestri Fabrizio, Riedel Sebastian, Halevy Alon

In recent years, neural networks have shown impressive performance gains on long-standing AI problems, such as answering queries from text and machine translation. These advances raise the question of whether neural nets can be used at the core of query processing to derive answers from facts, even when the facts are expressed in natural language. If so, it is conceivable that we could relax the fundamental assumption of database management, namely, that our data is represented as fields of a pre-defined schema. Furthermore, such technology would enable combining information from text, images, and structured data seamlessly. This paper introduces neural databases, a class of systems that use NLP transformers as localized answer derivation engines. We ground the vision in NeuralDB, a system for querying facts represented as short natural language sentences. We demonstrate that recent natural language processing models, specifically transformers, can answer select-project-join queries if they are given a set of relevant facts. However, they cannot scale to non-trivial databases nor answer set-based and aggregation queries. Based on these insights, we identify specific research challenges that are needed to build neural databases. Some of the challenges require drawing upon the rich literature in data management, and others pose new research opportunities to the NLP community. Finally, we show that with preliminary solutions, NeuralDB can already answer queries over thousands of sentences with very high accuracy
Gruppo di ricerca: Algorithms and Data Science, Gruppo di ricerca: Theory of Deep Learning
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