This AI Paper Explains How Programming Languages Can Enhance Each Other Through Instruction Tuning

The introduction of Large Language Models (LLMs) has captured the world by storm. These models are famous for imitating humans by generating unique and creative content and answering questions like humans would. These models are also capable of summarizing long paragraphs of text, translating languages, and completing codes. The development of LLMs made expressly for producing code has seen a significant uptick recently. The amazing code production skills of these models, also known as code LLMs, have attracted much attention in academic and industrial areas. CodeGeeX, StarCoder, CodeLlama, and Codex are a few notable code LLMs that have been introduced lately.

The application of instruction-tuning algorithms is a fascinating breakthrough in the area of code LLMs. Recent research has examined the idea of teaching LLMs how to follow specific instructions in order to improve their capacity for code production. A recent study explores the intriguing idea that once human programmers have mastered one programming language, it might be simpler for them to pick up a second language. This study’s primary goal is to determine whether various programming languages can complement one another while large language models are fine-tuning their instructions.

In order to explore and investigate this theory, a group of researchers have conducted a series of extensive experiments involving eight popular programming languages: Python, JavaScript, TypeScript, C, C++, Java, Go, and HTML. These languages include a wide range of programming paradigms and use cases, from markup languages like HTML to system-level languages like C and C++, as well as scripting languages like Python and JavaScript. The main goal of these tests was to see whether instruction fine-tuning in one programming language could enhance a code LLM’s performance when used with another. For these tests, the code LLM used was StarCoder.

In order to ensure that the instructions are in line with each language’s syntax and requirements, the methodology for creating these language-specific instructions involves modifying the initial Python-based seed instruction through either in-depth evolution or, in the case of HTML, in-breadth evolution. In-depth evolution is a method for generating language-specific instructions by starting with a Python-based seed instruction and then making it more intricate and tailored to the target language, capturing language-specific nuances. On the other hand, in-breadth evolution involves creating entirely new instructions specific to HTML rather than starting from Python-based instructions, recognizing the distinct nature of HTML in web development.

The experiments’ outcomes produced some strong conclusions. It was shown that, when it comes to code creation jobs, programming languages definitely have the capacity to perform noticeably better than one another. For instance, when tested on Java code using the HumanEval-X benchmark, a code model known as CODEM-Python 15B that was trained on Python data demonstrated a remarkable 17.95% absolute improvement in pass@1 accuracy. This finding suggests that knowledge of one language, such as Python, can significantly improve code production in another language, such as Java.

Even more astonishingly, when used on a corpus of HTML (a markup language), CODEM-HTML 7B showed a significant absolute improvement of 15.24% pass@1. This implies that even fundamentally different languages, such as markup languages like HTML and conventional programming languages like Java, can mutually improve each other’s code production abilities.


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Tanya Malhotra is a final year undergrad from the University of Petroleum & Energy Studies, Dehradun, pursuing BTech in Computer Science Engineering with a specialization in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
She is a Data Science enthusiast with good analytical and critical thinking, along with an ardent interest in acquiring new skills, leading groups, and managing work in an organized manner.

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