Symmetry-Aware Actor-Critic for 3D Molecular Design

Gregor N. C. Simm, Robert Pinsler, Gábor Csányi, José Miguel Hernández-Lobato

Automating molecular design using deep reinforcement learning (RL) has the potential to greatly accelerate the search for novel materials. Despite recent progress on leveraging graph representations to design molecules, such methods are fundamentally limited by the lack of three-dimensional (3D) information. In light of this, we propose a novel actor-critic architecture for 3D molecular design that can generate molecular structures unattainable with previous approaches. This is achieved by exploiting the symmetries of the design process through a rotationally covariant state-action representation based on a spherical harmonics series expansion. We demonstrate the benefits of our approach on several 3D molecular design tasks, where we find that building in such symmetries significantly improves generalization and the quality of generated molecules.

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