• author: All About AI

From Sparse to Dense: GPT-4 Summarization with Chain of Density Prompting

In today's video, we will explore a paper titled "From Sparse to Dense: GPT-4 Summarization with Chain of Density Prompting." This paper was authored by researchers from Salesforce AI, MIT, Columbia University, and Biomedical Informatics. Let's delve into the abstract first and then test the effectiveness of the proposed approach.


The task of selecting the right amount of information for a summary is challenging. A good summary should strike a balance between being detailed and entity-centric without being overly dense and difficult to follow. The authors introduce the concept of using a chain of density prompts to generate increasingly dense GPT-4 summaries. These summaries exhibit more fusion, are more abstract, and have less of a lead bias compared to traditional GPT-4 summaries generated by a zero-shot or vanilla prompt.

Testing the Prompt

To test the effectiveness of the approach, let's examine the prompt provided in the paper. The prompt instructs the following two steps to be repeated five times:

  1. Identify three informative entities from the article that are missing from the previously generated summary.
  2. Write a new, denser summary of the same length that covers every entity and detail from the previous summary, as well as the missing entities.

The density curve included in the paper depicts the progressive increase in density or entities as the steps progress. This approach allows for the inclusion of more entities in each subsequent summary, while maintaining the same summary length.

Added Information

While the text provided in the video gave a brief overview, it lacks structure and detail. To enhance the article, here are some additional points:

  1. Entities: The paper clarifies the term "entities" as informative elements from the article such as people, places, organizations, or concepts. These entities play a crucial role in creating concise and meaningful summaries.

  2. Summary Length: The paper emphasizes using the exact number of words for each summary, with a fixed length of 80 words or four to five sentences. This approach assists in maintaining consistency and allows for fair comparisons between different summaries.

  3. Article Selection: For the first test, the video presenter chose an article titled "Should We Be Worried About Older Politicians?" from BBC Future. It is essential to select a well-written and informative article to evaluate the effectiveness of the summarization approach accurately.

Testing the Summary

Now, let's analyze the fifth summary generated using the provided prompt with the selected article. Here is the summary:

"The 2024 U.S. election, featuring Biden and Trump, sparks debates on the impact of age on leadership. Cognitive decline threshold, identified by Mark Fisher at age 65, influences executive function, while cognitive flexibility diminishes with age, as highlighted by Barbara Sahakian. Fisher advocates for cognitive screenings for politicians, a proposal supported by Nikki Haley but deemed ageist by critics. Amidst toxic ageism discussions, the dilemma persists: Does age genuinely determine political aptitude?"

At first glance, this summary effectively captures the essence of the article and includes a multitude of entities that play a significant role in the discussion. Compared to the original article, the summarization process has successfully condensed the information while maintaining the key points.


Comparing the generated summary to the first summary in the video, it is evident that the approach using the chain of density prompts produces a more concise and information-dense summary. The earlier summary employed more filler words, resulting in a more scattered and lengthy introduction to the topic. In contrast, the final summary we tested demonstrated a condensed version that effectively captured the main ideas and entities.


The paper's approach of utilizing a chain of density prompts for GPT-4 summarization shows promise in generating concise and entity-centric summaries. The ability to progressively add missing entities while maintaining summary length ensures a denser and more informative output. Further experimentation and testing, potentially through the use of a Python script, could provide deeper insights into the effectiveness of this approach.

If you are interested in exploring this paper further, we have provided a link to the prompts and the full research paper in the description below. Stay tuned for more exciting developments in the coming weeks!

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