Deep Learning for Deep Chemistry: Optimizing the Prediction of Chemical Patterns

Front Chem. 2019 Nov 26;7:809. doi: 10.3389/fchem.2019.00809. eCollection 2019.


Computational Chemistry is currently a synergistic assembly between ab initio calculations, simulation, machine learning (ML) and optimization strategies for describing, solving and predicting chemical data and related phenomena. These include accelerated literature searches, analysis and prediction of physical and quantum chemical properties, transition states, chemical structures, chemical reactions, and also new catalysts and drug candidates. The generalization of scalability to larger chemical problems, rather than specialization, is now the main principle for transforming chemical tasks in multiple fronts, for which systematic and cost-effective solutions have benefited from ML approaches, including those based on deep learning (e.g. quantum chemistry, molecular screening, synthetic route design, catalysis, drug discovery). The latter class of ML algorithms is capable of combining raw input into layers of intermediate features, enabling bench-to-bytes designs with the potential to transform several chemical domains. In this review, the most exciting developments concerning the use of ML in a range of different chemical scenarios are described. A range of different chemical problems and respective rationalization, that have hitherto been inaccessible due to the lack of suitable analysis tools, is thus detailed, evidencing the breadth of potential applications of these emerging multidimensional approaches. Focus is given to the models, algorithms and methods proposed to facilitate research on compound design and synthesis, materials design, prediction of binding, molecular activity, and soft matter behavior. The information produced by pairing Chemistry and ML, through data-driven analyses, neural network predictions and monitoring of chemical systems, allows (i) prompting the ability to understand the complexity of chemical data, (ii) streamlining and designing experiments, (ii) discovering new molecular targets and materials, and also (iv) planning or rethinking forthcoming chemical challenges. In fact, optimization engulfs all these tasks directly.

Keywords: chemistry; deep-learning; machine-learning; models; molecular simulation; optimization.

Publication types

  • Review