Melissa Roemmelle, Cosmin Bejan, Andrew Gordon: “Choice of Plausible Alternatives: An Evaluation of Commonsense Causal Reasoning”

March 21, 2011 | Palo Alto, CA

Speaker: Melissa Roemmelle, Cosmin Bejan, Andrew Gordon
Host: AAAI Spring Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning

Research in open-domain commonsense reasoning has been hindered by the lack of evaluation metrics for judging progress and comparing alternative approaches. Taking inspiration from large-scale question sets used in natural language processing research, we authored one thousand English-language questions that directly assess commonsense causal reasoning, called the Choice Of Plausible Alternatives (COPA) evaluation. Using a forced- choice format, each question gives a premise and two plausible causes or effects, where the correct choice is the alternative that is more plausible than the other. This paper describes the authoring methodology that we used to develop a validated question set with sufficient breadth to advance open-domain commonsense reasoning research. We discuss the design decisions made during the authoring process, and explain how these decisions will affect the design of high-scoring systems. We also present the performance of multiple baseline approaches that use statistical natural language processing techniques, establishing initial benchmarks for future systems.