Skip to content


Switch branches/tags

Name already in use

A tag already exists with the provided branch name. Many Git commands accept both tag and branch names, so creating this branch may cause unexpected behavior. Are you sure you want to create this branch?

Latest commit


Git stats


Failed to load latest commit information.
Latest commit message
Commit time


A structured question answering system on top of free-form text, and borrows ideas from TableILP and TupleILP. The details of the system is explained in the following paper:

  title={Question Answering as Global Reasoning over Semantic Abstractions},
  author={Khashabi, Daniel and Khot, Tushar and Sabharwal, Ashish and Roth, Dan},
  journal={Conference of Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence},

Testing out the system

Our system relies on a couple of annotators that are not publicly available. As a result you (if outside CogComp) cannot run our full system. However, we have created a smaller system which works with public annotators.

Initializing the annotators

The system is dependant on the set of annotators provided in CogCompNLP. In order to run annotators, download version

The system is tested with v3.1.22 of CogCompNLP. Download the package and run the annotator servers, on two different ports PORT_NUMBER1 and PORT_NUMBER2.

# running the main annotators 
./pipeline/scripts/  --port PORT_NUMBER1 
# running github external annotators 
./external/scripts/ --port PORT_NUMBER2  

Also the system requires Sahand annotator server. This project makes distributed representations available over network. Run it, after downloading it:

> sbt 
> project server 

Then you have to set the ports in SemanticILP. Open Constants.scala and set the ports.

Note: The annotators require good amount of memory:

  • CogComp-NLP pipeline takes up to 25GB
  • CogComp-NLP external annotators takes up to 35GB
  • Sahand takes less than 10GB

Missing Dependencies

Unfortunately some of our dependencies are not available publicly. But there is a hacky way to get around this issue. We have put these dependencies here, which you have to put them in our ivy cache folder. In a typical machine this is where there should be located at: ~/.ivy2/cache/.

Running SemanticILP

And next you have to run the solver itself. You can run the system under different models. Here are the different models you can use:

  • Best overall
  • Best elementary-school science
  • Best process bank

To set the model, take a look at Constants.scala.

In order to initialize the solver, you have the following options:

  • Using it programmatically
  • Using it over network

Next subsections clarify each of the above items:

Note: here are the memory requirements:

  • SemanticILP solver: minimum around 8GB
  • Annotation Server (CogComp): minimum around 17GB
  • Annotation Server (CogComp-external): minimum around 15GB

Run the solver programmatically

To run the solver, clone this project and run create a instance of the solve:

import org.allenai.ari.solvers.textilp.utils.AnnotationUtils
import org.allenai.ari.solvers.textilp.solvers.TextILPSolver
import org.allenai.ari.solvers.textilp.utils.SolverUtils

val annotationUtils = new AnnotationUtils()
val textILPSolver = new TextILPSolver(annotationUtils, verbose = false, SolverUtils.params)
val question = "A decomposer is an organism that"
val options = Seq("hunts and eats animals", "migrates for the winter",
                           "breaks down dead plants and animals", "uses water and sunlight to make food")
val paragraph = "organisms that obtain energy by eating dead plant or animal matter. " +
                            "DECOMPOSER An organism that breaks down cells of dead plants and animals into simpler substances." +
                            "The plants use sunlight, carbon dioxide, water, and minerals to make food that sustains themselves and other organisms in the forest."                             
val (selected, statistics) = textILPSolver.solve(question, options, paragraph)

You can also install it locally (publish-local) and use it as a maven/sbt/... dependency in your program.

Note: If you see an error like this:

Caused by: java.lang.UnsatisfiedLinkError: no jscip-0.1.linux.x86_64.gnu.opt.spx in java.library.path

this means that the solver does not recognize the ILP binary files (common to linux). In that case, add the path to your binary files, to your LD_LIBRARY_PATH variable.

export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=path_to_lib_folder/

Run the solver over a network

This is for the case where you want to access the system either:

  • Limited memory, not enough to run the system on your machine
  • Need to access from a programming language, other than Scala (or any other JVM-based language)
  • Multiple people trying to use it at the same time.

To the run the system over the network, run the following script:

 > sbt 
 > project viz 
 > run 

And access it in this URL:


where SOLVER_DOMAIN is the domain of on which you're running the solver, SOLVER_PORT is the port on which the solver is running, and ANSWERS is the set of candidate answers separated by //. To access the solver, without paragraphs, set SNIPPET to be empty and it will try to retrieve a paragraph using lucene.

To stop it, just do Ctrl+D.

Note that you can access the system via a graphical interface too:



Sure! Create issues or email Daniel. Suggestions? send a pull-request.


Question Answering as Global Reasoning over Semantic Abstractions (AAAI-18)








No releases published


No packages published