Cracking the SQL Code: Defog AI’s SQLCoder Takes the Lead?

An In-Depth Look at Defog AI’s Groundbreaking SQLCoder and Its Dominance in Natural Language to SQL Conversion


In the ever-evolving landscape of technology and artificial intelligence, the ability to bridge the gap between human language and complex computer programming has been a constant challenge. However, a new champion has emerged in the form of Defog AI’s SQLCoder. This state-of-the-art Language Model (LLM) is designed to convert natural language questions into SQL queries seamlessly and accurately. In this comprehensive article, we will delve deep into the world of SQLCoder, exploring its capabilities, advantages, and how it is reshaping the way we interact with databases.

Understanding SQLCoder: A Game-Changer

A 15B Parameter Model

SQLCoder is not your average language model—it boasts an impressive 15 billion parameters. This massive parameter count enables it to tackle even the most complex natural language questions and generate accurate SQL queries.

Outperforming GPT-3.5 Turbo

One of the most remarkable achievements of SQLCoder is its superior performance over the GPT-3.5 Turbo model, which was considered a benchmark for natural language processing tasks. SQLCoder consistently outperforms GPT-3.5 Turbo in the realm of natural language to SQL conversion, showcasing its advanced capabilities.

Conquering the Open-Source Arena

Open-source models have played a significant role in advancing natural language processing, but SQLCoder takes the lead by not only outperforming popular open-source models but also outshining text-davinci-003, a model over 10 times its size.

Unveiling the Results

In the world of technological advancements, results speak volumes. Let’s take a closer look at SQLCoder’s impressive performance:

Model Performance Comparison

ModelPercentage Correct

These results underscore SQLCoder’s dominance, with defog-sqlcoder confidently positioned as a standout performer.

Behind the Scenes: Training and Fine-Tuning

Curated Questions and Schemas

SQLCoder’s prowess doesn’t materialize out of thin air—it’s the result of meticulous training and fine-tuning. The model was trained on a dataset of 10,537 human-curated questions across two epochs, based on 10 different schemas. None of the schemas in the training data were included in the evaluation framework, ensuring unbiased evaluation.

Phases of Training

Training SQLCoder occurred in two distinct phases. The first phase focused on questions classified as “easy” or “medium” difficulty, while the second phase tackled questions categorized as “hard” or “extra hard.” The decision to divide training into phases led to a noteworthy 7 percentage point increase in performance—a testament to the efficacy of the approach.

The Power of Classification: Results by Question Category

To provide a comprehensive evaluation, each generated question was categorized into five different categories. Let’s examine how SQLCoder’s performance stacks up in each category:

Group By

  • gpt-4: 82.9%
  • defog-sqlcoder: 77.1%
  • gpt-3.5-turbo: 71.4%
  • defog-easy: 62.9%
  • text-davinci-003: 62.9%
  • wizard-coder: 68.6%
  • star-coder: 54.3%

In the “Group By” category, SQLCoder’s accuracy shines through, surpassing even gpt-4.

Order By

  • gpt-4: 71.4%
  • defog-sqlcoder: 65.7%
  • gpt-3.5-turbo: 60.0%
  • defog-easy: 68.6%
  • text-davinci-003: 60.0%
  • wizard-coder: 54.3%
  • star-coder: 57.1%

SQLCoder’s finesse in the “Order By” category further solidifies its position as a top contender.


  • gpt-4: 62.9%
  • defog-sqlcoder: 57.1%
  • gpt-3.5-turbo: 48.6%
  • defog-easy: 40.0%
  • text-davinci-003: 37.1%
  • wizard-coder: 22.9%
  • star-coder: 17.1%

Even in the challenging “Ratio” category, SQLCoder continues to showcase its remarkable accuracy.

Table Join

  • gpt-4: 74.3%
  • defog-sqlcoder: 57.1%
  • gpt-3.5-turbo: 60.0%
  • defog-easy: 54.3%
  • text-davinci-003: 51.4%
  • wizard-coder: 54.3%
  • star-coder: 51.4%

SQLCoder’s expertise in handling table joins reinforces its status as a standout performer.


  • gpt-4: 80.0%
  • defog-sqlcoder: 65.7%
  • gpt-3.5-turbo: 62.9%
  • defog-easy: 60.0%
  • text-davinci-003: 60.0%
  • wizard-coder: 60.0%
  • star-coder: 45.7%

In the critical “Where” category, SQLCoder’s precision is evident, making it a powerful tool for complex queries.

Utilizing SQLCoder: Making the Most of Its Potential

Harnessing the capabilities of SQLCoder is a straightforward process. You can seamlessly integrate SQLCoder into your workflow by utilizing the transformers library and downloading the model weights from the HuggingFace repository. Additionally, a sample code for inference on a sample database schema has been provided, ensuring a smooth start.

Hardware Compatibility: Powering SQLCoder’s Performance

SQLCoder has been put to the test on various hardware configurations, demonstrating its adaptability and power:

  • A100 40GB GPU with bfloat16 weights
  • 8-bit and 4-bit quantized versions on consumer GPUs with 20GB or more of memory, including RTX 4090, RTX 3090, Apple M2 Pro, M2 Max, or M2 Ultra Chips

Future Endeavors: Beyond the Horizon

Defog AI’s commitment to innovation doesn’t stop here. The roadmap for SQLCoder’s future includes:

  • Open-sourcing v1 model weights
  • Expanding training data for increased data variance
  • Further fine-tuning through Reward Modelling and Reinforcement Learning from Human Feedback
  • Pretraining a specialized model for in-depth SQL analysis

How to Use SQLCoder

SQLCoder, developed by Defog AI, is a powerful language model designed to convert natural language questions into SQL queries. This guide will walk you through the steps of using SQLCoder for your database-related tasks.


SQLCoder is a state-of-the-art Large Language Model (LLM) fine-tuned for converting natural language questions into SQL queries. It outperforms other models in accuracy and efficiency, making it an ideal tool for various database-related tasks.

Getting Started

Before you can start using SQLCoder, you need to set up a few things.


SQLCoder can be used via the transformers library. To install the required packages, you can use the following command:

pip install transformers

Model Weights

To use SQLCoder, you’ll need to download the model weights from the HuggingFace repository. These weights contain the pre-trained knowledge that SQLCoder uses for generating SQL queries. You can download the weights from the following link: SQLCoder Model Weights.

Using SQLCoder

Once you have the necessary packages and model weights installed, you can start using SQLCoder.

Basic Usage

Here’s how you can use SQLCoder to convert a natural language question into an SQL query using Python code:

from transformers import AutoModelForSeq2SeqLM, AutoTokenizer

model_name = "defog/sqlcoder"
tokenizer = AutoTokenizer.from_pretrained(model_name)
model = AutoModelForSeq2SeqLM.from_pretrained(model_name)

question = "What are the total sales for each product?"
inputs = tokenizer.encode("translate English to SQL: " + question, return_tensors="pt")
outputs = model.generate(inputs)

query = tokenizer.decode(outputs[0], skip_special_tokens=True)
print("Generated SQL query:", query)

Sample Questions

SQLCoder provides sample code for inference on a sample database schema. You can use the following command to generate queries for sample questions:

python -q "Question about the sample database goes here"

Interactive Demo

You can also explore SQLCoder’s capabilities through an interactive demo. Visit the Interactive Demo webpage to enter your questions and see the generated SQL queries.

Running in Colab

To use SQLCoder in Google Colab, you can use the provided Colab notebook. The notebook provides step-by-step instructions on loading the model and generating SQL queries. You can access the notebook here.

Hardware Requirements

SQLCoder has been tested on an A100 40GB GPU with bfloat16 weights. Additionally, you can also load quantized versions of the model on consumer GPUs with 20GB or more of memory, such as RTX 4090, RTX 3090, and Apple M2 series chips.


What sets SQLCoder apart from other natural language processing models?

SQLCoder’s unique blend of a 15 billion parameter count, meticulous training, and fine-tuning processes, along with its focus on specific database-related tasks, sets it apart from other models in the field.

How can I get started with using SQLCoder?

You can start using SQLCoder by downloading the model weights from the HuggingFace repository and integrating it into your workflow using the transformers library. Sample code and resources are provided to help you get started.

Can SQLCoder be used for complex database queries?

Absolutely! SQLCoder’s superior performance across various question categories, including complex tasks like table joins and advanced querying, makes it an ideal choice for tackling intricate database operations.

What’s the significance of open-sourcing the model weights?

Open-sourcing the model weights allows the community to contribute, fine-tune, and further enhance the model’s capabilities. This collaborative approach can lead to rapid advancements and improvements.

How does SQLCoder handle hardware compatibility?

SQLCoder’s adaptability to various hardware configurations, from GPUs with different memory capacities to specialized chips, ensures that users can harness its capabilities regardless of their computing setup.

What can we expect from Defog AI in the future?

Defog AI’s future endeavors include open-sourcing the v1 model weights, expanding training data for increased data variance, further fine-tuning with advanced techniques, and potentially pretraining specialized models for specific tasks like SQL analysis.


In the dynamic realm of natural language processing, SQLCoder has established itself as a pioneer, pushing boundaries and redefining possibilities. Its ability to seamlessly bridge the gap between human language and complex SQL queries is a testament to the incredible progress we’ve made in the field of AI.

As we bid farewell to this exploration, we’re left with a profound understanding of how SQLCoder’s cutting-edge capabilities are revolutionizing the way we interact with databases. The journey doesn’t end here rather, it’s a stepping stone toward a future where technology and human understanding intertwine seamlessly, making intricate tasks like SQL coding as natural as a conversation. With Defog AI’s SQLCoder at the forefront, we can confidently say that the code-cracking journey has taken a leap into a new era of possibilities.


My name is Chetan Mali,
I have a background in mechanical engineering, but my true passion lies in the field of artificial intelligence. I started this blog as a way to share my knowledge and experience with others who are interested in learning more about AI.

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