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July 11, 2023

OpenAI Releases ChatGPT Code Interpreter, ‘Your Personal Data Analyst’


You can now run Python functions to analyze your own data in a ChatGPT session thanks to the new Code Interpreter that OpenAI is releasing as a beta to subscribers this week.

ChatGPT Code Interpreter “lets ChatGPT run code, optionally with access to files you’ve uploaded,” an OpenAI spokesperson wrote in a blog last week. “You can ask ChatGPT to analyze data, create charts, edit files, perform math, etc.”

Code Interpreter is a ChatGPT plug-in developed by OpenAI and released as an alpha in March, when OpenAI opened up its ChatGPT product to third-party plug-ins, OpenAI says on its ChatGPT plug-in webpage.

“We provide our models with a working Python interpreter in a sandboxed, firewalled execution environment, along with some ephemeral disk space,” OpenAI says about Code Interpreter. “Code run by our interpreter plugin is evaluated in a persistent session that is alive for the duration of a chat conversation (with an upper-bound timeout) and subsequent calls can build on top of each other. We support uploading files to the current conversation workspace and downloading the results of your work.”

The goal with Code Interpreter was to lower the barrier of entry for working with ChatGPT for things like solving math problems, doing data analysis and visualization, and converting files to different formats, the company says.

The new Code Interpreter plug-in for ChatGPT lets users analyze thier own data by running Python code against it

“We would like our models to be able to use their programming skills to provide a much more natural interface to most fundamental capabilities of our computers,” OpenAI says. “Having access to a very eager junior programmer working at the speed of your fingertips can make completely new workflows effortless and efficient, as well as open the benefits of programming to new audiences.”

The ChatGPT community responded positively to the new tool. Andrej Karpathy, who previously was Tesla’s AI director and also worked as a research scientist at OpenAI, called Code Interpreter “your personal data analyst” from his Twitter account.

“It is less a tool for coders and more a coder who works for you,” wrote Ethan Mollick, a computer science professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, on Twitter.

OpenAI says it took precautions in releasing Code Interpreter to ChatGPT Plus subscribers. Sandboxing the execution of the code helps to prevent “unintended side effects in the real world,” it states. “We execute code in a secured environment and use strict network controls to prevent external internet access from executed code.”

Developers can deploy their own version of Code Interpreter, which is open source, provided they register it with ChatGPT, according to OpenAI.

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