Modelling Chemical Reasoning to Predict and Invent Reactions

Marwin Segler, Mark Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The ability to reason beyond established knowledge allows organic chemists to solve synthetic problems and invent novel transformations. Herein, we propose a model that mimics chemical reasoning, and formalises reaction prediction as finding missing links in a knowledge graph. We have constructed a knowledge graph containing 14.4 million molecules and 8.2 million binary reactions, which represents the bulk of all chemical reactions ever published in the scientific literature. Our model outperforms a rule‐based expert system in the reaction prediction task for 180 000 randomly selected binary reactions. The data‐driven model generalises even beyond known reaction types, and is thus capable of effectively (re‐)discovering novel transformations (even including transition metal‐catalysed reactions). Our model enables computers to infer hypotheses about reactivity and reactions by only considering the intrinsic local structure of the graph and because each single reaction prediction is typically achieved in a sub‐second time frame, the model can be used as a high‐throughput generator of reaction hypotheses for reaction discovery.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalWiley Online Library
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


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