AST-T5: Structure-Aware Pretraining for Code Generation and Understanding


Large language models (LLMs) have made significant advancements in code-related tasks, yet many LLMs treat code as simple sequences, neglecting its structured nature. We introduce AST-T5, a novel pretraining paradigm that leverages the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) for enhanced code generation, transpilation, and understanding. Using dynamic programming, our AST-Aware Segmentation retains code structure, while our AST-Aware Span Corruption objective equips the model to reconstruct various code structures. Unlike other models, AST-T5 avoids intricate program analyses or architectural changes, so it integrates seamlessly with any encoder-decoder Transformer. Evaluations show that AST-T5 consistently outperforms similar-sized LMs across various code-related tasks. Structure-awareness makes AST-T5 particularly powerful in code-to-code tasks, surpassing CodeT5 by 2 points in exact match score for the Bugs2Fix task and by 3 points in exact match score for Java-C# Transpilation in CodeXGLUE. Our code and model are publicly available at

In International Conference on Machine Learning 2024
Linyuan Gong
Linyuan Gong
PhD Student in Artificial Intelligence

Research large language models (LLMs), including pretraining, prompting, and evaluation.