Applications (Bio) 2

Moderators: Chence Shi · Minkai Xu


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Wed 21 July 19:00 - 19:20 PDT

Learning Gradient Fields for Molecular Conformation Generation

Chence Shi · Shitong Luo · Minkai Xu · Jian Tang

We study a fundamental problem in computational chemistry known as molecular conformation generation, trying to predict stable 3D structures from 2D molecular graphs. Existing machine learning approaches usually first predict distances between atoms and then generate a 3D structure satisfying the distances, where noise in predicted distances may induce extra errors during 3D coordinate generation. Inspired by the traditional force field methods for molecular dynamics simulation, in this paper, we propose a novel approach called ConfGF by directly estimating the gradient fields of the log density of atomic coordinates. The estimated gradient fields allow directly generating stable conformations via Langevin dynamics. However, the problem is very challenging as the gradient fields are roto-translation equivariant. We notice that estimating the gradient fields of atomic coordinates can be translated to estimating the gradient fields of interatomic distances, and hence develop a novel algorithm based on recent score-based generative models to effectively estimate these gradients. Experimental results across multiple tasks show that ConfGF outperforms previous state-of-the-art baselines by a significant margin.

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Wed 21 July 19:20 - 19:25 PDT

An End-to-End Framework for Molecular Conformation Generation via Bilevel Programming

Minkai Xu · Wujie Wang · Shitong Luo · Chence Shi · Yoshua Bengio · Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli · Jian Tang

Predicting molecular conformations (or 3D structures) from molecular graphs is a fundamental problem in many applications. Most existing approaches are usually divided into two steps by first predicting the distances between atoms and then generating a 3D structure through optimizing a distance geometry problem. However, the distances predicted with such two-stage approaches may not be able to consistently preserve the geometry of local atomic neighborhoods, making the generated structures unsatisfying. In this paper, we propose an end-to-end solution for molecular conformation prediction called ConfVAE based on the conditional variational autoencoder framework. Specifically, the molecular graph is first encoded in a latent space, and then the 3D structures are generated by solving a principled bilevel optimization program. Extensive experiments on several benchmark data sets prove the effectiveness of our proposed approach over existing state-of-the-art approaches. Code is available at \url{}.

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Wed 21 July 19:25 - 19:30 PDT

SagaNet: A Small Sample Gated Network for Pediatric Cancer Diagnosis

Yuhan Liu · Shiliang Sun

The scarcity of available samples and the high annotation cost of medical data cause a bottleneck in many digital diagnosis tasks based on deep learning. This problem is especially severe in pediatric tumor tasks, due to the small population base of children and high sample diversity caused by the high metastasis rate of related tumors. Targeted research on pediatric tumors is urgently needed but lacks sufficient attention. In this work, we propose a novel model to solve the diagnosis task of small round blue cell tumors (SRBCTs). To solve the problem of high noise and high diversity in the small sample scenario, the model is constrained to pay attention to the valid areas in the pathological image with a masking mechanism, and a length-aware loss is proposed to improve the tolerance to feature diversity. We evaluate this framework on a challenging small sample SRBCTs dataset, whose classification is difficult even for professional pathologists. The proposed model shows the best performance compared with state-of-the-art deep models and generalization on another pathological dataset, which illustrates the potentiality of deep learning applications in difficult small sample medical tasks.

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Wed 21 July 19:30 - 19:35 PDT

ACE: Explaining cluster from an adversarial perspective

Yang Lu · Timothy C Yu · Giancarlo Bonora · William Stafford Noble

A common workflow in single-cell RNA-seq analysis is to project the data to a latent space, cluster the cells in that space, and identify sets of marker genes that explain the differences among the discovered clusters. A primary drawback to this three-step procedure is that each step is carried out independently, thereby neglecting the effects of the nonlinear embedding and inter-gene dependencies on the selection of marker genes. Here we propose an integrated deep learning framework, Adversarial Clustering Explanation (ACE), that bundles all three steps into a single workflow. The method thus moves away from the notion of "marker genes" to instead identify a panel of explanatory genes. This panel may include genes that are not only enriched but also depleted relative to other cell types, as well as genes that exhibit differences between closely related cell types. Empirically, we demonstrate that ACE is able to identify gene panels that are both highly discriminative and nonredundant, and we demonstrate the applicability of ACE to an image recognition task.

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Wed 21 July 19:35 - 19:40 PDT

Fold2Seq: A Joint Sequence(1D)-Fold(3D) Embedding-based Generative Model for Protein Design

yue cao · Payel Das · Vijil Chenthamarakshan · Pin-Yu Chen · Igor Melnyk · Yang Shen

Designing novel protein sequences for a desired 3D topological fold is a fundamental yet non-trivial task in protein engineering. Challenges exist due to the complex sequence--fold relationship, as well as the difficulties to capture the diversity of the sequences (therefore structures and functions) within a fold. To overcome these challenges, we propose Fold2Seq, a novel transformer-based generative framework for designing protein sequences conditioned on a specific target fold. To model the complex sequence--structure relationship, Fold2Seq jointly learns a sequence embedding using a transformer and a fold embedding from the density of secondary structural elements in 3D voxels. On test sets with single, high-resolution and complete structure inputs for individual folds, our experiments demonstrate improved or comparable performance of Fold2Seq in terms of speed, coverage, and reliability for sequence design, when compared to existing state-of-the-art methods that include data-driven deep generative models and physics-based RosettaDesign. The unique advantages of fold-based Fold2Seq, in comparison to a structure-based deep model and RosettaDesign, become more evident on three additional real-world challenges originating from low-quality, incomplete, or ambiguous input structures. Source code and data are available at

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Wed 21 July 19:40 - 19:45 PDT

Accelerating Feedforward Computation via Parallel Nonlinear Equation Solving

Yang Song · Chenlin Meng · Renjie Liao · Stefano Ermon

Feedforward computation, such as evaluating a neural network or sampling from an autoregressive model, is ubiquitous in machine learning. The sequential nature of feedforward computation, however, requires a strict order of execution and cannot be easily accelerated with parallel computing. To enable parallelization, we frame the task of feedforward computation as solving a system of nonlinear equations. We then propose to find the solution using a Jacobi or Gauss-Seidel fixed-point iteration method, as well as hybrid methods of both. Crucially, Jacobi updates operate independently on each equation and can be executed in parallel. Our method is guaranteed to give exactly the same values as the original feedforward computation with a reduced (or equal) number of parallelizable iterations, and hence reduced time given sufficient parallel computing power. Experimentally, we demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach in accelerating (i) backpropagation of RNNs, (ii) evaluation of DenseNets, and (iii) autoregressive sampling of MADE and PixelCNN++, with speedup factors between 2.1 and 26 under various settings.

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Wed 21 July 19:45 - 19:50 PDT

Non-Autoregressive Electron Redistribution Modeling for Reaction Prediction

Hangrui Bi · Hengyi Wang · Chence Shi · Connor Coley · Jian Tang · Hongyu Guo

Reliably predicting the products of chemical reactions presents a fundamental challenge in synthetic chemistry. Existing machine learning approaches typically produce a reaction product by sequentially forming its subparts or intermediate molecules. Such autoregressive methods, however, not only require a pre-defined order for the incremental construction but preclude the use of parallel decoding for efficient computation. To address these issues, we devise a non-autoregressive learning paradigm that predicts reaction in one shot. Leveraging the fact that chemical reactions can be described as a redistribution of electrons in molecules, we formulate a reaction as an arbitrary electron flow and predict it with a novel multi-pointer decoding network. Experiments on the USPTO-MIT dataset show that our approach has established a new state-of-the-art top-1 accuracy and achieves at least 27 times inference speedup over the state-of-the-art methods. Also, our predictions are easier for chemists to interpret owing to predicting the electron flows.

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Wed 21 July 19:50 - 19:55 PDT