Keywords: molecular dynamics, machine learning force field, novel benchmark, simulation-based evaluation, AI4Science
TL;DR: We benchmark machine learning force fields with novel datasets and metrics based on molecular simulations and reveal insights into how they should be evaluated and further improved.
Abstract: Molecular dynamics (MD) simulation techniques are widely used for various natural science applications. Increasingly, machine learning (ML) force field (FF) models begin to replace ab-initio simulations by predicting forces directly from atomic structures. Despite significant progress in this area, such techniques are primarily benchmarked by their force/energy prediction errors, even though the practical use case would be to produce realistic MD trajectories. We aim to fill this gap by introducing a novel benchmark suite for ML MD simulation. We curate representative MD systems, including water, organic molecules, peptide, and materials, and design evaluation metrics corresponding to the scientific objectives of respective systems. We benchmark a collection of state-of-the-art (SOTA) ML FF models and illustrate, in particular, how the commonly benchmarked force accuracy is not well aligned with relevant simulation metrics. We demonstrate when and how selected SOTA methods fail, along with offering directions for further improvement. Specifically, we identify stability as a key metric for ML models to improve. Our benchmark suite comes with a comprehensive open source codebase for training and simulation with ML FFs to facilitate further work.