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GPT-4 Can Solve Math Problems — But Not in All Languages | by Yennie Jun | Oct, 2023

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A few experiments making GPT-4 solve math problems in 16 different languages

Yennie Jun
Towards Data Science
Image created by author using Midjourney.

This article was originally posted on my personal website.

It is said that mathematics is a universal language — mathematical concepts, theorems, and definitions can be expressed as symbols that are understandable regardless of language.

In this article, I test the mathematical capabilities of GPT-4 in sixteen different languages.

Early experiments showed GPT-4 scoring highly on the SAT Math and AP Calculus tests and on undergraduate-level mathematics. However, the majority of these experiments test GPT-4’s mathematical capabilities only in English. To better understand GPT-4’s mathematical capabilities beyond English, I prompt it on the same math problems in fifteen other languages.

So, how good is GPT-4 at math in different languages? In theory, it should be equally good (or bad) across all languages, but unfortunately (as you might have guessed), this is not the case. GPT-4 is much better at solving math problems in English. Depending on the language, GPT-4 could solve some of the problems. For traditionally under-resourced languages, however, such as Burmese and Amharic, GPT-4 was unable to solve the problems I gave it.

I use mathematical problems from the Project Euler website to test GPT-4. (This is also a throwback to one of my one of my earlier articles from this year, where I used prompt engineering using ChatGPT to solve a few Project Euler problems). Project Euler, named for the eponymous mathematician, is a website with hundreds of mathematical and computer programming problems ranging in difficulty. Started in 2001, they boast over 850 problems (as of October 2023) and release a new question approximately every week.

The great thing about Project Euler questions is that each problem has a numerically “correct” answer — this makes it easy to check if GPT-4’s answer is objectively correct or not. They also tend to be a lot more complicated than high-school or college-level math problems. Currently, there is no large-scale comprehensive…

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