SCIENCEWORLD: Is your Agent Smarter than a 5th Grader?

Ruoyao Wang, Peter Jansen, Marc Alexandre Côté, Prithviraj Ammanabrolu

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We present SCIENCEWORLD, a benchmark to test agents' scientific reasoning abilities in a new interactive text environment at the level of a standard elementary school science curriculum. Despite the transformer-based progress seen in question-answering and scientific text processing, we find that current models cannot reason about or explain learned science concepts in novel contexts. For instance, models can easily answer what the conductivity of a known material is but struggle when asked how they would conduct an experiment in a grounded environment to find the conductivity of an unknown material. This begs the question of whether current models are simply retrieving answers by way of seeing a large number of similar examples or if they have learned to reason about concepts in a reusable manner. We hypothesize that agents need to be grounded in interactive environments to achieve such reasoning capabilities. Our experiments provide empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis-showing that a 1.5 million parameter agent trained interactively for 100k steps outperforms a 11 billion parameter model statically trained for scientific question-answering and reasoning from millions of expert demonstrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2022
Event2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022 - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Dec 7 2022Dec 11 2022


Conference2022 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, EMNLP 2022
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates
CityAbu Dhabi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems


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