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Session 1 | Contributed talk: Tian Xie, "Crystal Diffusion Variational Autoencoder for Periodic Material Generation"
Tian Xie · Atilim Gunes Baydin

Mon Dec 13 07:20 AM -- 07:35 AM (PST) @

Generating the periodic structure of stable materials is a long-standing challenge for the material design community. This task is difficult because stable materials only exist in a low-dimensional subspace of all possible periodic arrangements of atoms: 1) the coordinates must lie in the local energy minimum defined by quantum mechanics, and 2) different atom types have complex, yet specific bonding preferences. Existing methods fail to incorporate these factors and often lack proper invariances. We propose a Crystal Diffusion Variational Autoencoder (CDVAE) that captures the physical inductive bias of material stability. By learning from the data distribution of stable materials, the decoder generates materials in a diffusion process that moves atomic coordinates towards a lower energy state and updates atom types to satisfy bonding preferences between neighbors. Our model also explicitly encodes interactions across periodic boundaries and respects permutation, translation, rotation, and periodic invariances. We generate significantly more realistic materials than past methods in two tasks: 1) reconstructing the input structure, and 2) generating valid, diverse, and realistic materials. Our contribution also includes the creation of several standard datasets and evaluation metrics for the broader machine learning community.

Author Information

Tian Xie (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Atilim Gunes Baydin (University of Oxford)

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