Ju Fan


PASTA: Table-Operations Aware Fact Verification via Sentence-Table Cloze Pre-training
Zihui Gu | Ju Fan | Nan Tang | Preslav Nakov | Xiaoman Zhao | Xiaoyong Du
Proceedings of the 2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing

Fact verification has attracted a lot of attention recently, e.g., in journalism, marketing, and policymaking, as misinformation and dis- information can sway one’s opinion and affect one’s actions. While fact-checking is a hard task in general, in many cases, false statements can be easily debunked based on analytics over tables with reliable information. Hence, table- based fact verification has recently emerged as an important and growing research area. Yet, progress has been limited due to the lack of datasets that can be used to pre-train language models (LMs) to be aware of common table operations, such as aggregating a column or comparing tuples. To bridge this gap, this paper introduces PASTA for table-based fact verification via pre-training with synthesized sentence–table cloze questions. In particular, we design six types of common sentence–table cloze tasks, including Filter, Aggregation, Superlative, Comparative, Ordinal, and Unique, based on which we synthesize a large corpus consisting of 1.2 million sentence–table pairs from WikiTables. PASTA uses a recent pre-trained LM, DeBERTaV3, and further pre- trains it on our corpus. Our experimental results show that PASTA achieves new state-of-the-art (SOTA) performance on two table-based fact verification datasets TabFact and SEM-TAB- FACTS. In particular, on the complex set of TabFact, which contains multiple operations, PASTA largely outperforms previous SOTA by 4.7% (85.6% vs. 80.9%), and the gap between PASTA and human performance on the small test set is narrowed to just 1.5% (90.6% vs. 92.1%).