A qualitative assessment of using ChatGPT as large language model for scientific workflow development


Scientific workflow systems are increasingly popular for expressing and executing complex data analysis pipelines over large datasets, as they offer reproducibility, dependability, and scalability of analyses by automatic parallelization on large compute clusters. However, implementing workflows is difficult due to the involvement of many black-box tools and the deep infrastructure stack necessary for their execution. Simultaneously, user-supporting tools are rare, and the number of available examples is much lower than in classical programming languages.To address these challenges, we investigate the efficiency of large language models (LLMs), specifically ChatGPT, to support users when dealing with scientific workflows. We performed 3 user studies in 2 scientific domains to evaluate ChatGPT for comprehending, adapting, and extending workflows. Our results indicate that LLMs efficiently interpret workflows but achieve lower performance for exchanging components or purposeful workflow extensions. We characterize their limitations in these challenging scenarios and suggest future research directions.Our results show a high accuracy for comprehending and explaining scientific workflows while achieving a reduced performance for modifying and extending workflow descriptions. These findings clearly illustrate the need for further research in this area.

Fabian Lehmann
Fabian Lehmann
Ph.D. candidate

My research interests include distributed systems, scientific workflows, and their scheduling.