Do you use chain of density prompts for summarization?

Last updated by Jack Pettit [SSW] 5 months ago.See history

If you have a lot of text to sum up, it can be time consuming to extract the most important parts. If you want a simple way to keep the important stuff, you should use chain of density (CoD).

What is Chain of Density?

CoD prompting is a useful way to reduce the chances that ChatGPT makes mistakes when summarizing text. It works automatically with one prompt. Studies have shown that CoD summaries are preferable to normal GPT-4 summaries.

When you give it the prompt, it will:

  • Add important stuff step by step
  • Critique itself to check quality
  • Improve its own summary

Here's an example prompt you can use to do CoD - the only thing you need to to is paste the text you want summarized into the {{ ARTICLE }} placeholder:

"Article: {{ ARTICLE }}
You will generate increasingly concise, entity-dense summaries of the above article.

Repeat the following 2 steps 5 times.

Step 1. Identify 1-3 informative entities (";" delimited) from the article which are missing from the previously generated summary.
Step 2. Write a new, denser summary of identical length which covers every entity and detail from the previous summary plus the missing entities.

A missing entity is:

  • relevant to the main story,
  • specific yet concise (5 words or fewer),
  • novel (not in the previous summary),
  • faithful (present in the article),
  • anywhere (can be located anywhere in the article).


  • The first summary should be long (4-5 sentences, ~80 words) yet highly non-specific, containing little information beyond the entities marked as missing. Use overly verbose language and fillers (e.g., "this article discusses") to reach ~80 words.
  • Make every word count: rewrite the previous summary to improve flow and make space for additional entities.
  • Make space with fusion, compression, and removal of uninformative phrases like "the article discusses".
  • The summaries should become highly dense and concise yet self-contained, i.e., easily understood without the article.
  • Missing entities can appear anywhere in the new summary.
  • Never drop entities from the previous summary. If space cannot be made, add fewer new entities.

Remember, use the exact same number of words for each summary."

Depending on how dense of a summary you want, you may want to take the outputs from step 2, 3, or 4, instead of 5.

We open source. Powered by GitHub