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Multi-hop Reading Comprehension through Question Decomposition and Rescoring

This is an original implementation of the following paper. [Paper PDF]

@inproceedings{ min2019multi,
  title={ Multi-hop Reading Comprehension through Question Decomposition and Rescoring },
  author={ Min, Sewon and Zhong, Victor and Zettlemoyer, Luke and Hajishirzi, Hannaneh },
  booktitle={ ACL },
  year={ 2019 }

Check out our Demo, which answers to the multi-hop question in a real time! Demo Screenshot

Model Description

Our model, DecompRC, answers to the multi-hop question by decomposition. It decomposes the question into a set of sub-questions according to the reasoning type (bridging, intersection, comparison and one hop), answers each sub-question through single-hop reading comprehension model, and uses a decomposition scorer to determine the most suitable decomposition & final answer.

model-slide-1 model-slide-2 model-slide-3

DecompRC was submitted to the HotpotQA leaderboard in Feb, 2019 and is still the best performing model out of models submitted to both distractor setting and full wiki setting (as of Jun, 2019).

Update: We are releasing the final predictions of the model on the dev data, along with its chosen reasoning type and decomposed sub-questions. Specifically, this json file contains a dictionary with

  • answer: answer text
  • reasoning: reasoning type, one of bridge, intersec, comparison & onehop
  • queries: sub-questions. For bridge and intersec, it is (a string that concatenates two sub-questions, first sub-question, second-subquestion). For comparison, it is (first sub-question, second-sub-question, operation). For onehop, it will simply have None.
  • evidence: This contains passages/sentences that QA model chooses the span from during the first hop or the second hop.

Code description

This repo contains:

  • the code for DecompRC (training & inference)
  • the code for DecompRC demo
  • annotated decomposition examples
  • pretrained models
  • intermediate output of DecompRC

This code is based on the earlier version of Pytorch BERT implementation from HuggingFace. For all models using BERT, we used an uncased version of BERT Base. This code is tested on Python 3.5.2 and Pytorch 1.1.0.


The code for training the model is mainly in DecompRC.

Here, we describe the instruction to run the mode for (i) preprocessing, (ii) making an inference and (iii) training the model. (i) and (ii) are described here, (iii) is described in DecompRC/ We highly recommend to download the pretrained model first (following the instruction in Pretrained Model section) and run the code for the inference before training the model, to make sure all codes run properly.

Note: The code for comparison questions is under construction. We release the pretrained models and intermediate outputs for the comparison questions, so please use them for now.


1. Download HotpotQA data and Pretrained BERT

You can download original HotpotQA data (train, dev-distractor) from HotpotQA website.

You can download pretrained Tensorflow BERT from here. This is converted from Google's original BERT repo.

2. Convert HotpotQA into SQuAD style

The following command converts HotpotQA into SQuAD style, and store files into data/hotpot-all directory.

python --data_dir {DATA_DIR} --task hotpot-all

{DATA_DIR} indicates the directory with hotpot data files. (e.g. the directory should contain hotpot_train_v1.json and hotpot_dev_distractor_v1.json)


If you place downloaded, unzip it & place data and model inside DecompRC, and place pytorch model of uncased BERT-Base inside model/uncased_L-12_H-768_A-12, you can simply do make inference to run all codes for the inference.

The following is the step-by-step instruction of each procedure.

1. Decomposition Model
# Bridging
python3 --do_predict --model span-predictor --output_dir out/decom-bridge \
              --init_checkpoint model/decom_bridge/ \
              --predict_file data/hotpot-all/dev.json,data/decomposition-data/decomposition-bridge-dev-v1.json \
              --max_seq_length 100 --max_n_answers 1 --prefix dev_ --with_key
# Intersection
python3 --do_predict --model span-predictor --output_dir out/decom-intersec \
              --init_checkpoint model/decom_intersec/ \
              --predict_file data/hotpot-all/dev.json,data/decomposition-data/decomposition-intersec-dev-v1.json \
              --max_seq_length 100 --max_n_answers 1 --prefix dev_

You can adjust --predict_batch_size based on memory availability.

2. Single-hop RC Model

The following is the code for bridging.

python3 --task decompose --data_type dev_b --out_name out/decom-bridge
python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/onehop \
            --predict_file data/decomposed/dev_b.1.json \
            --init_checkpoint out/onehop/,out/onehop/,out/onehop/ \
            --prefix dev_b_1_ --n_best_size 4
python3 --task plug --data_type dev_b --topk 10
python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/onehop \
            --predict_file data/decomposed/dev_b.2.json \
            --init_checkpoint out/onehop/,out/onehop/,out/onehop/ \
            --prefix dev_b_2_ --n_best_size 4
python3 --task aggregate-bridge --data_type dev_b --topk 10

The first command preprocesses the decomposed sub-questions according to the output from the decomposition model (stored in out/decom-bridge). Then, the second commands runs the RC model for the first sub-question. The third command runs the code for plugging the answer to the first sub-question into the second sub-question. Then the next command runs the RC model for the second sub-question. Finally, the last command aggregates the outputs.

If everything runs properly, you will obtain data/decomposed-predictions/bridge_decomposed_dev_nbest_predictions.json.

You can go through the similar process for intersection.

python3 --task decompose --data_type dev_i --out_name out/decom-intersec
python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/onehop
            --predict_file data/decomposed/dev_i.1.json \
            --init_checkpoint out/onehop/,out/onehop/,out/onehop/ \
            --prefix dev_i_1_ --n_best_size 4
python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/onehop \
            --predict_file data/decomposed/dev_i.2.json \
            --init_checkpoint out/onehop/,out/onehop/,out/onehop/ \
            --prefix dev_i_2_ --n_best_size 4
python3 --task aggregate-intersec --data_type dev_i --topk 10

Note that for intersection questions, there is no plugging process. When you are done, you will obtain data/decomposed-predictions/intersec_decomposed_dev_nbest_predictions.json.

Finally, for the option of original, the original questions are answered by RC model.

python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/hotpot \
            --predict_file data/hotpot-all/dev.json \
            --init_checkpoint model/hotpot/ --max_seq_length 300 --prefix dev_ --n_best_size 4
python3 --task onehop --data_type dev --topk 10

When you are done, you will obtain data/decomposed-predictions/onehop_decomposed_dev_nbest_predictions.json.

Note: Code for comparison questions is under construction. For now, please use the released intermediate outputs.

3. Decomposition Scorer
python3 --do_predict --output_dir out/scorer --model classifier \
            --predict_file data/hotpot-all/dev.json,comparison,bridge,intersec,onehop \
            --init_checkpoint model/scorer/ \
            --max_seq_length 400 --prefix dev_

The F1 score printed from this command is the final F1 score of DecompRC on the dev set of HotpotQA. It stores the score for each reasoning type in out/scorer/class_scores.json. The answer to each question is the answer from the reasoning type with maximum score.

To display the breakdown of F1 score using prettytable and save the final prediction file that is comparable to the submission for official HotpotQA evaluation, please run

python3 --data_file {ORIGINAL_HOTPOT_DEV_FILE} --prediction_file {FILE_TO_SAVE}


The code for demo is mainly in demo directory. To run the demo, please install flask 1.0.2. Go to demo directory, place model directory with all pretrained models inside demo, and run python Then, localhost:2019 will show a demo. You can change the port by modifying Please note that the demo can be slow on cpu, so we recommend to run it on gpu.

Currently, the demo supports bridging and intersection.

Details of each file/directory:

  • a main python code to run the demo using Flask, which handles receiving the question and paragraphs from the user, running DecompRC and sending the sub-questions & answer.
  • templates/: HTML file.
  • static/: style files (including boostrap) and javascript file.
  • qa/: codes for the model to make an inference.

Decomposition Examples & Pretrained Models & Intermediate Outputs

To download everything altoegher, please click here. The description of each file is as follows.

1. Decomposition Examples

Annotated decomposition examples can be found inside data/decomposition-data.

  • decomposition-bridge-{DTYPE}-v1.json (DTYPE: dev/train) contains examples for reasoning type of bridging.
  • decomposition-intersec-{DTYPE}-v1.json (DTYPE: dev/train) contains examples for reasoning type of intersection.

Each file is a json file containing a dictionary, which key is data (string) and value is a list of datapoints (200 for the training set of bridging and intersection, 152 for the development set of bridging, 66 for the development set of intersection)

Each datapoint is a dictionary with two keys, id and question.

  • id is an id matching with the original HotpotQA id.
  • question is the question with annotation. All words in the question are lowercased, and the only uppercase is special tokens S and K (K is only for bridging). S indicates the start and end of the span, containing multiple words. K indicates the start and end of the keyword, which is always one word.

An Example of bridging

  • question in the dictionary: S alice david is the voice of lara croft in a video K game K S developed by which company ?
  • original question: alice david is the voice of lara croft in a video game developed by which company?
  • annotated span: alice david is the voice of lara croft in a video game?
  • annotated keyword: game
  • desired decomposition: (1) alice david is the voice of lara croft in which video game ? (2) [ANSWER] developed by which company ?

An Example of intersection

  • question in the dictionary: what former city, S now the fourth - largest russian city S , was the belarusian state technological university evacuated to in 1941?
  • original question:: what former city, now the fourth - largest russian city , was the belarusian state technological university evacuated to in 1941?
  • annotated span: now the fourth - largest russian city
  • desired decomposition: (1) what former city is now the fourth - largest russian city (2) what former city was the belarusian state technological university evacuated to in 1941?

For full details of the definition of bridging and intersection, decomposition method and annotation procedure, please see the paper.

2. Pretrained Models

All pretrained models can be found in model.

  • decom_bridge: a decomposition model for bridging questions.
  • decom_intersec: a decomposition model for intersection questions.
  • hotpot: a BERT-based reading comprehension model trained on HotpotQA. This is used as a baseline in the paper.
  • onehop: a BERT-based reading comprehension model trained on SQuAD (augmented with Wikipedia articles retrieved by TF-IDF to make it multi-paragraph setting) and HotpotQA easy. contains three different models for ensemble.
  • scorer: a decomposition scorer

For full details of each model, please see the paper.

3. Intermediate Outputs

We also release the intermediate outputs for people hoping to save time to make an inference on the training data. Files can be found in data/decomposition-predictions

The name of the file is in a format of {RTYPE}_decomposed_{DTYPE}_nbest_predictions.json, where {RTYPE} indicates the reasoning type (bridge,intersec,comparison,onehop) and {DTYPE} indicates the data type (train,dev).


For any question, please contact Sewon Min.


An original implementation of ACL 2019, "Multi-hop Reading Comprehension through Question Decomposition and Rescoring"



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