The exponential growth in the amount of genomic data has spurred growing interest in large scale analysis of genetic information. Bioinformatics applications, which explore computational methods to allow researchers to sift through the massive biological data and extract useful information, are becoming increasingly important computer workloads. This paper presents BioPerf, a benchmark suite of representative bioinformatics applications to facilitate the design and evaluation of high-performance computer architectures for these emerging workloads. Currently, the BioPerf suite contains codes from 10 highly popular bioinformatics packages and covers the major fields of study in computational biology such as sequence comparison, phylogenetic reconstruction, protein structure prediction, and sequence homology & gene finding. We demonstrate the use of BioPerf by providing simulation points of pre-compiled Alpha binaries and with a performance study on IBM Power using IBM Mambo simulations cross-compared with Apple G5 executions. The BioPerf suite (available from www.bioperf.org) includes benchmark source code, input datasets of various sizes, and information for compiling and using the benchmarks. Our benchmark suite includes parallel codes where available.