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Torsional Diffusion for Molecular Conformer Generation

Bowen Jing · Gabriele Corso · Jeffrey Chang · Regina Barzilay · Tommi Jaakkola

Hall J (level 1) #438

Keywords: [ Equivariance ] [ conformer generation ] [ Boltzmann generator ] [ score-based models ] [ molecular structure ] [ diffusion models ] [ Geometric Deep Learning ]


Molecular conformer generation is a fundamental task in computational chemistry. Several machine learning approaches have been developed, but none have outperformed state-of-the-art cheminformatics methods. We propose torsional diffusion, a novel diffusion framework that operates on the space of torsion angles via a diffusion process on the hypertorus and an extrinsic-to-intrinsic score model. On a standard benchmark of drug-like molecules, torsional diffusion generates superior conformer ensembles compared to machine learning and cheminformatics methods in terms of both RMSD and chemical properties, and is orders of magnitude faster than previous diffusion-based models. Moreover, our model provides exact likelihoods, which we employ to build the first generalizable Boltzmann generator. Code is available at

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