ExeDec: Execution Decomposition for Compositional Generalization in Neural Program Synthesis

by   Kensen Shi, et al.

When writing programs, people have the ability to tackle a new complex task by decomposing it into smaller and more familiar subtasks. While it is difficult to measure whether neural program synthesis methods have similar capabilities, we can measure whether they compositionally generalize, that is, whether a model that has been trained on the simpler subtasks is subsequently able to solve more complex tasks. In this paper, we characterize several different forms of compositional generalization that are desirable in program synthesis, forming a meta-benchmark which we use to create generalization tasks for two popular datasets, RobustFill and DeepCoder. We then propose ExeDec, a novel decomposition-based synthesis strategy that predicts execution subgoals to solve problems step-by-step informed by program execution at each step. ExeDec has better synthesis performance and greatly improved compositional generalization ability compared to baselines.


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