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      When it comes to advanced math, ChatGPT is no star student / ArsTechnica · Saturday, 20 May - 16:00 · 1 minute

    Image of a student standing before a whiteboard filled with equations.

    Enlarge (credit: Peter Dazeley )

    While learning high-level mathematics is no easy feat, teaching math concepts can often be just as tricky. That may be why many teachers are turning to ChatGPT for help. According to a recent Forbes article , 51 percent of teachers surveyed stated that they had used ChatGPT to help teach, with 10 percent using it daily. ChatGPT can help relay technical information in more basic terms, but it may not always provide the correct solution, especially for upper-level math.

    An international team of researchers tested what the software could manage by providing the generative AI program with challenging graduate-level mathematics questions. While ChatGPT failed on a significant number of them, its correct answers suggested that it could be useful for math researchers and teachers as a type of specialized search engine.

    Portraying ChatGPT’s math muscles

    The media tends to portray ChatGPT’s mathematical intelligence as either brilliant or incompetent. “Only the extremes have been emphasized,” explained Frieder Simon , a University of Oxford PhD candidate and the study’s lead author. For example, ChatGPT aced Psychology Today’s Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence IQ Test, scoring 147 points, but failed miserably on Accounting Today’s CPA exam. “There’s a middle [road] for some use cases; ChatGPT is performing pretty well [for some students and educators], but for others, not so much,” Simon elaborated.

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      Canadian statistics professor games Tim Hortons contest for 80-98% win rates / ArsTechnica · Monday, 3 April - 18:44

    Tim Hortons sign with Canadian-flag-style maple leaf insignia

    Enlarge / Tim Hortons is a coffee and donut chain popular with Canadians, Canadian-adjacent regions of the US, and statistics professors. (credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

    All you had to do, if you really wanted some free coffee and doughnuts, was wake up around 3 am each day and click on some virtual Tim Hortons coffee cups.

    It was 3:16 am, actually, that gave a University of Waterloo professor a roughly 80 percent win rate on Tim Hortons' Roll Up To Win game. That wasn't as good as the 98 percent Michael Wallace clocked in early 2020, when he discovered a quirk in the coffee chain's prize distribution scheme, but it still made for great lessons for his students.

    "I really like the fact that you can take data from the real world, run it through some math, and find patterns that describe what you see," Wallace told his university's news service . "It's a kind of magic."

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      How one institution keeps claiming math’s highest award / ArsTechnica · Monday, 18 July, 2022 - 17:13 · 1 minute

    Image of buildings in a wooded environment.

    Enlarge / The buildings of the IHES. (credit: Dhananjay Khadilkar)

    Even before this year’s Fields Medal winners announcement, the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques (IHES) or the Institute of Advanced Scientific Studies, boasted a remarkable statistic. Since its founding in 1958, the institute has had 12 permanent mathematics professors; seven of them had won a Fields Medal, considered to be the Nobel Prize in mathematics. On July 5, Hugo Duminil-Copin was named a recipient of this year’s prize, and the IHES extended its remarkable record to eight. “I am extremely glad that Hugo won the Fields Medal. We were betting on him to win the prize this year,” IHES director Emmanuel Ullmo told Ars Technica.

    People before topics

    Duminil-Copin was recognized for his use of probability theory to tackle problems in statistical physics. The 36-year-old is the first professor at IHES specializing in probability theory, a trait that manifests the institute’s philosophy as well as the reason behind its success. “We don’t look for topics but individuals. While recruiting professors, our only focus is on finding the most brilliant mathematicians or physicists,” Ullmo says.

    Ullmo recalls the process of hiring Duminil-Copin. “Around 2016, when I consulted experts to suggest names of brilliant young researchers, Hugo’s name was right at the top. Even though no other mathematics professor in IHES history had specialized in probability theory, we offered Hugo the position. If someone of Hugo’s level had been researching in some other field of mathematics, that would have suited us, too,” Ullmo says.

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