Distilling coarse-grained representations of molecular electronic structure with continuously gated message passing

J. Charlie Maier, Chun I. Wang, Nicholas E. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bottom-up methods for coarse-grained (CG) molecular modeling are critically needed to establish rigorous links between atomistic reference data and reduced molecular representations. For a target molecule, the ideal reduced CG representation is a function of both the conformational ensemble of the system and the target physical observable(s) to be reproduced at the CG resolution. However, there is an absence of algorithms for selecting CG representations of molecules from which complex properties, including molecular electronic structure, can be accurately modeled. We introduce continuously gated message passing (CGMP), a graph neural network (GNN) method for atomically decomposing molecular electronic structure sampled over conformational ensembles. CGMP integrates 3D-invariant GNNs and a novel gated message passing system to continuously reduce the atomic degrees of freedom accessible for electronic predictions, resulting in a one-shot importance ranking of atoms contributing to a target molecular property. Moreover, CGMP provides the first approach by which to quantify the degeneracy of “good” CG representations conditioned on specific prediction targets, facilitating the development of more transferable CG representations. We further show how CGMP can be used to highlight multiatom correlations, illuminating a path to developing CG electronic Hamiltonians in terms of interpretable collective variables for arbitrarily complex molecules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024109
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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