STL-CQA: Structure-based Transformers with Localization and Encoding for Chart Question Answering

EMNLP 2020

Published November 18, 2020

Hrituraj Singh, Sumit Shekhar

Chart Question Answering (CQA) is the task of answering natural language questions about visualisations in the chart image. Recent solutions, inspired by VQA approaches, rely on image-based attention for question/answering while ignoring the inherent chart structure. We propose STL-CQA which improves the question/answering through sequential elements localization, question encoding and then, a structural transformer-based learning approach. We conduct extensive experiments while proposing pre-training tasks, methodology and also an improved dataset with more complex and balanced questions of different types. The proposed methodology shows a significant accuracy improvement compared to the state-of-the-art approaches on various chart Q/A datasets, while outperforming even human baseline on the DVQA Dataset. We also demonstrate interpretability while examining different components in the inference pipeline.

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