From Human Days to Machine Seconds: Automatically Answering and Generating Machine Learning Final Exams

A final exam in machine learning at a top institution such as MIT, Harvard, or Cornell typically takes faculty days to write, and students hours to solve. We demonstrate that large language models pass machine learning finals at a human level, on finals available online after the models were trained, and automatically generate new human-quality final exam questions in seconds. Previous work has developed program synthesis and few-shot learning methods to solve university-level problem set questions in mathematics and STEM courses. In this work, we develop and compare methods that solve final exams, which differ from problem sets in several ways: the questions are longer, have multiple parts, are more complicated, and span a broader set of topics. We curate a dataset and benchmark of questions from machine learning final exams available online and code for answering these questions and generating new questions. We show how to generate new questions from other questions and course notes. For reproducibility and future research on this final exam benchmark, we use automatic checkers for multiple-choice, numeric, and questions with expression answers. We perform ablation studies comparing zero-shot learning with few-shot learning and chain-of-thought prompting using GPT-3, OPT, Codex, and ChatGPT across machine learning topics and find that few-shot learning methods perform best. We highlight the transformative potential of language models to streamline the writing and solution of large-scale assessments, significantly reducing the workload from human days to mere machine seconds. Our results suggest that rather than banning large language models such as ChatGPT in class, instructors should teach students to harness them by asking students meta-questions about correctness, completeness, and originality of the responses generated, encouraging critical thinking in academic studies.

PDF Abstract


  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.