Accepted Papers

Parsing to Programs: A Framework for Situated QA

Mrinmaya Sachan (Carnegie Mellon University); Eric P. Xing (Carnegie Mellon University)

This paper introduces Parsing to Programs, a framework that combines ideas from parsing and probabilistic programming for situated question answering. As a case study, we build a system that solves pre-university level Newtonian physics questions. Our approach represents domain knowledge of Newtonian physics as programs. When presented with a novel question, the system learns a formal representation of the question by combining interpretations from the question text and any associated diagram. Finally, the system uses this formal representation to solve the questions using the domain knowledge. We collect a new dataset of Newtonian physics questions from a number of textbooks and use it to train our system. The system achieves near human performance on held-out textbook questions and section 1 of AP Physics C mechanics - both on practice questions as well as on freely available actual exams held in 1998 and 2012.