BioCoder: A Benchmark for Bioinformatics Code Generation with Large Language Models

31 Aug 2023  ·  Xiangru Tang, Bill Qian, Rick Gao, Jiakang Chen, Xinyun Chen, Mark Gerstein ·

Pre-trained large language models (LLMs) have significantly improved code generation. As these models scale up, there is an increasing need for the output to handle more intricate tasks and to be appropriately specialized to particular domains. Here, we target bioinformatics due to the amount of domain knowledge, algorithms, and data operations this discipline requires. We present BioCoder, a benchmark developed to evaluate LLMs in generating bioinformatics-specific code. BioCoder spans much of the field, covering cross-file dependencies, class declarations, and global variables. It incorporates 1,026 Python functions and 1,243 Java methods extracted from GitHub, along with 253 examples from the Rosalind Project, all pertaining to bioinformatics. Using topic modeling, we show that the overall coverage of the included code is representative of the full spectrum of bioinformatics calculations. BioCoder incorporates a fuzz-testing framework for evaluation. We have applied it to evaluate various models including InCoder, CodeGen, CodeGen2, SantaCoder, StarCoder, StarCoder+, InstructCodeT5+, GPT-3.5, and GPT- 4. Furthermore, we fine-tuned one model (StarCoder), demonstrating that our training dataset can enhance the performance on our testing benchmark (by >15% in terms of Pass@K under certain prompt configurations and always >3%). The results highlight two key aspects of successful models: (1) Successful models accommodate a long prompt (> 2,600 tokens) with full context, including functional dependencies. (2) They contain domain-specific knowledge of bioinformatics, beyond just general coding capability. This is evident from the performance gain of GPT-3.5/4 compared to the smaller models on our benchmark (50% vs. up to 25%). Availability and implementation: Code is available at: and https://biocoder-benchmark.

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HumanEval MBPP APPS DS-1000

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