BERT performs near state of the art in question and answering! I confirm it now

Today, I write the article of BERT, which a new natural language model, again because it works so well in question and answering task. In my last article, I explained how BERT works so if you are new about BERT, could you read it?

For this experiment, I use SQuADv1.1data as it is very famous in the field of question and answering.  Here is an explanation by them.

“Stanford Question Answering Dataset (SQuAD) is a reading comprehension dataset, consisting of questions posed by crowd workers on a set of Wikipedia articles, where the answer to every question is a segment of text, or span, from the corresponding reading passage, or the question might be unanswerable.” (This is from SQuAD2.0, a new version of Q&A data)

This is a very challenging task for computers to answer correctly. How does BERT work for this task? As you saw below, BERT recorded f1 90.70 after one-hour training on TPU on colab in our experiment. It is amazing because based on the Leaderboard of SQuAD1.1 below, it is the third or fourth among top universities and companies although the Leaderboard may be different from our experiment setting. It is also noted BERT is as good as a human is!




I tried both Base model and Large model with different batch size.  Large model is better than Base model with around 3 points. Large model takes around 60 minutes to complete training while Base model takes around 30 munites. I use TPU on Google colab for training. Here is the result. EM means “exact match”.

Question & answering can be applied to many tasks in businesses, such as information extraction from documents and automation for customer centers. It must be exciting when we can apply BERT to businesses in the near future.


Next, I would like to perform text-classification of news title in Japanese because BERT has a multi-language model which works in 104 languages globally. As I live in Tokyo now, it is easy to find good data for this experiment. I will update my article soon. So stay tuned!






  title={BERT: Pre-training of Deep Bidirectional Transformers for Language Understanding},
  author={Devlin, Jacob and Chang, Ming-Wei and Lee, Kenton and Toutanova, Kristina},
  journal={arXiv preprint arXiv:1810.04805},

Notice: Toshi Stats Co., Ltd. and I do not accept any responsibility or liability for loss or damage occasioned to any person or property through using materials, instructions, methods, algorithm or ideas contained herein, or acting or refraining from acting as a result of such use. Toshi Stats Co., Ltd. and I expressly disclaim all implied warranties, including merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose. There will be no duty on Toshi Stats Co., Ltd. and me to correct any errors or defects in the codes and the software


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