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Students, take note! Smartphones can now help you finish your math homework by giving step-by-step solutions to hard-to-crack algebra equations, thanks to a new artificial intelligence app developed by engineers including one of Indian origin. The app, created by US-based start up Socratic, allows students to learn how to answer a question just by snapping a photo of it. “Again and again, we hear that students struggle with math. Every student takes math, often for multiple years, and it can be hard to get help from parents and friends,” said Shreyans Bhansali, Head of Engineering at Socratic. “We wanted to create an experience that walks students through their problems, and teaches the concepts behind the problem,” Bhansali said.
The app ‘reads’ math questions – even handwritten ones – and gives students step-by-step solutions and explanations that teach them the underlying concepts and help answer all types of math problems. To build the app, the team looked through countless math questions asked by students and categorised them by the steps required to solve them. Then, they wrote high quality ‘Explainers’ to teach these concepts and tested them with hundreds of high school students. In parallel, the engineering team built algorithms that allow a computer to solve math problems step-by-step.
They incorporated data collected from students so that steps closely match those a great teacher or tutor would provide to a student. The app also shows graphs, curated videos, and relevant definitions, helping students reach a deeper understanding of the problem. “Students can now break down their question into small steps, allowing them to gain confidence and learn how to solve similar questions on their own,” said Bhansali.