Learning Invariant Molecular Representation in Latent Discrete Space

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 36 (NeurIPS 2023) Main Conference Track

Bibtex Paper Supplemental


Xiang Zhuang, Qiang Zhang, Keyan Ding, Yatao Bian, Xiao Wang, Jingsong Lv, Hongyang Chen, Huajun Chen


Molecular representation learning lays the foundation for drug discovery. However, existing methods suffer from poor out-of-distribution (OOD) generalization, particularly when data for training and testing originate from different environments. To address this issue, we propose a new framework for learning molecular representations that exhibit invariance and robustness against distribution shifts. Specifically, we propose a strategy called ``first-encoding-then-separation'' to identify invariant molecule features in the latent space, which deviates from conventional practices. Prior to the separation step, we introduce a residual vector quantization module that mitigates the over-fitting to training data distributions while preserving the expressivity of encoders. Furthermore, we design a task-agnostic self-supervised learning objective to encourage precise invariance identification, which enables our method widely applicable to a variety of tasks, such as regression and multi-label classification. Extensive experiments on 18 real-world molecular datasets demonstrate that our model achieves stronger generalization against state-of-the-art baselines in the presence of various distribution shifts. Our code is available at https://github.com/HICAI-ZJU/iMoLD.