Geometric Vector Perceptron

Implementation of equivariant GVP-GNNs as described in Learning from Protein Structure with Geometric Vector Perceptrons by B Jing, S Eismann, P Suriana, RJL Townshend, and RO Dror.

This repository serves two purposes. If you would like to use the GVP architecture for structural biology tasks, we provide building blocks for models and data pipelines. If you are specifically interested in protein design as described in the paper, we provide scripts for training and testing models.

Note: This repository is an implementation in PyTorch Geometric emphasizing usability and flexibility. The original code for the paper, in TensorFlow, can be found here. We thank Pratham Soni for his contributions to the implementation in PyTorch.


  • UNIX environment
  • python==3.6.13
  • torch==1.8.1
  • torch_geometric==1.7.0
  • torch_scatter==2.0.6
  • torch_cluster==1.5.9
  • tqdm==4.38.0
  • numpy==1.19.4
  • sklearn==0.24.1

While we have not tested with other versions, any reasonably recent versions of these requirements should work.

General usage

We provide classes in three modules:

  • gvp: core GVP modules and GVP-GNN layers
  • data pipeline functionality for both general use and protein design
  • gvp.models: implementations of MQA and CPD models as described in the paper

The core modules in gvp are meant to be as general as possible, but you will likely have to modify and gvp.models for your specific application, with the existing classes serving as examples.

Installation: Download this repository and run python develop or pip install . -e. Be sure to manually install torch_geometric first!

Tuple representation: All inputs and outputs with both scalar and vector channels are represented as a tuple of two tensors (s, V). Similarly, all dimensions should be specified as tuples (n_scalar, n_vector) where n_scalar and n_vector are the number of scalar and vector features, respectively. All V tensors must be shaped as [..., n_vector, 3], not [..., 3, n_vector].

Batching: We adopt the torch_geometric convention of absorbing the batch dimension into the node dimension and keeping track of batch index in a separate tensor.

Amino acids: Models view sequences as int tensors and are agnostic to aa-to-int mappings. Such mappings are specified as the letter_to_num attribute of Currently, only the 20 standard amino acids are supported.

For all classes, see the docstrings for more detailed usage. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].

Core GVP classes

The class gvp.GVP implements a Geometric Vector Perceptron.

import gvp

in_dims = scalars_in, vectors_in
out_dims = scalars_out, vectors_out
gvp_ = gvp.GVP(in_dims, out_dims)

The classes gvp.Dropout and gvp.LayerNorm implement vector-channel dropout and layer norm, while using normal dropout and layer norm for scalar channels. Both expect inputs and return outputs of form (s, V), but will also behave like their scalar-valued counterparts if passed a single tensor.

dropout = gvp.Dropout(drop_rate=0.1)
layernorm = gvp.LayerNorm(out_dims)

The function gvp.randn returns tuples (s, V) drawn from a standard normal. Such tuples can be directly used in a forward pass.

x = gvp.randn(n=5, dims=in_dims)
# x = (s, V) with s.shape = [5, scalars_in] and V.shape = [5, vectors_in, 3]

out = gvp_(x)
out = drouput(out)
out = layernorm(out)

Finally, we provide utility functions for adding, concatenating, and indexing into such tuples.

y = gvp.randn(n=5, dims=in_dims)
z = gvp.tuple_sum(x, y)
z = gvp.tuple_cat(x, y, dim=-1) # concat along channel axis
z = gvp.tuple_cat(x, y, dim=-2) # concat along node / batch axis

node_mask = torch.rand(5) < 0.5
z = gvp.tuple_index(x, node_mask) # select half the nodes / batch at random

GVP-GNN layers

The class GVPConv is a torch_geometric.MessagePassing module which forms messages and aggregates them at the destination node, returning new node embeddings. The original embeddings are not updated.

nodes = gvp.randn(n=5, in_dims)
edges = gvp.randn(n=10, edge_dims) # 10 random edges
edge_index = torch.randint(0, 5, (2, 10), device=device)

conv = gvp.GVPConv(in_dims, out_dims, edge_dims)
out = conv(nodes, edge_index, edges)

The class GVPConvLayer is a nn.Module that forms messages using a GVPConv and updates the node embeddings as described in the paper. Because the updates are residual, the dimensionality of the embeddings are not changed.

layer = gvp.GVPConvLayer(node_dims, edge_dims)
nodes = layer(nodes, edge_index, edges)

The class also allows updates where incoming messages where src >= dst are computed using a different set of source embeddings, as in autoregressive models.

nodes_static = gvp.randn(n=5, in_dims)
layer = gvp.GVPConvLayer(node_dims, edge_dims, autoregressive=True)
nodes = layer(nodes, edge_index, edges, autoregressive_x=nodes_static)

Loading data

The class transforms protein backbone structures into featurized graphs. Following Ingraham, et al, NeurIPS 2019, we use a JSON/dictionary format to specify backbone structures:

        "name": "NAME"
        "seq": "TQDCSFQHSP...",
        "coords": [[[74.46, 58.25, -21.65],...],...]

For each structure, coords should be a num_residues x 4 x 3 nested list of the positions of the backbone N, C-alpha, C, and O atoms of each residue (in that order).


# structures is a list or list-like as shown above
dataset =
# dataset[i] is featurized graph corresponding to structures[i]

The returned graphs are of type with attributes

  • x: alpha carbon coordinates
  • seq: sequence converted to int tensor according to attribute self.letter_to_num
  • name, edge_index
  • node_s, node_v: node features as described in the paper with dims (6, 3)
  • edge_s, edge_v: edge features as described in the paper with dims (32, 1)
  • mask: false for nodes with any nan coordinates

The can be used with a We supply a class which will form batches based on the number of total nodes in a batch. Use of this sampler is optional.

node_counts = [len(s['seq']) for s in structures]
sampler =, max_nodes=3000)
dataloader =, batch_sampler=sampler)

The dataloader will return batched graphs of type with an additional batch attibute. The attributes of the Batch will then need to be formed into (s, V) tuples before passing into a GVP-GNN layer or network.

for batch in dataloader:
    batch = # optional
    nodes = (batch.node_s, batch.node_v)
    edges = (batch.edge_s, batch.edge_v)
    out = layer(nodes, batch.edge_index, edges)

Ready-to-use protein GNNs

We provide two fully specified networks which take in protein graphs and output a scalar prediction for each graph (gvp.models.MQAModel) or a 20-dimensional feature vector for each node (gvp.models.CPDModel), corresponding to the two tasks in our paper. Note that if you are using the unmodified, node_in_dims and edge_in_dims must be (6, 3) and (32, 1), respectively.

import gvp.models

# batch, nodes, edges as formed above

mqa_model = gvp.models.MQAModel(node_in_dim, node_h_dim, 
                        edge_in_dim, edge_h_dim, seq_in=True)
out = mqa_model(nodes, batch.edge_index, edges,
                 seq=batch.seq, batch=batch.batch) # shape (n_graphs,)

cpd_model = gvp.models.CPDModel(node_in_dim, node_h_dim, 
                        edge_in_dim, edge_h_dim)
out = cpd_model(nodes, batch.edge_index, 
                 edges, batch.seq) # shape (n_nodes, 20)

Protein design

We provide a script to train, validate, and test a CPDModel as specified in the paper using the CATH 4.2 dataset and TS50 dataset. If you want to use a trained model on new structures, see the section "Sampling" below.

Fetching data

Run in data/ to fetch the CATH 4.2 dataset. If you are interested in testing on the TS 50 test set, also run grep -Fv -f ts50remove.txt chain_set.jsonl > chain_set_ts50.jsonl to produce a training set without overlap with the TS 50 test set.

Training / testing

To train a model, simply run python --train. To test a trained model on both the CATH 4.2 test set and the TS50 test set, run python run_cpd --test-r PATH for perplexity or with --test-p for perplexity. Run python -h for more detailed options.

$ python -h

usage: [-h] [--models-dir PATH] [--num-workers N] [--max-nodes N] [--epochs N] [--cath-data PATH] [--cath-splits PATH] [--ts50 PATH] [--train] [--test-r PATH] [--test-p PATH] [--n-samples N]

optional arguments:
  -h, --help          show this help message and exit
  --models-dir PATH   directory to save trained models, default=./models/
  --num-workers N     number of threads for loading data, default=4
  --max-nodes N       max number of nodes per batch, default=3000
  --epochs N          training epochs, default=100
  --cath-data PATH    location of CATH dataset, default=./data/chain_set.jsonl
  --cath-splits PATH  location of CATH split file, default=./data/chain_set_splits.json
  --ts50 PATH         location of TS50 dataset, default=./data/ts50.json
  --train             train a model
  --test-r PATH       evaluate a trained model on recovery (without training)
  --test-p PATH       evaluate a trained model on perplexity (without training)
  --n-samples N       number of sequences to sample (if testing recovery), default=100

Confusion matrices: Note that the values are normalized such that each row (corresponding to true class) sums to 1000, with the actual number of residues in that class printed under the "Count" column.


To sample from a CPDModel, prepare a ProteinGraphDataset, but do NOT pass into a DataLoader. The sequences are not used, so placeholders can be used for the seq attributes of the original structures dicts.

protein = dataset[i]
nodes = (protein.node_s, protein.node_v)
edges = (protein.edge_s, protein.edge_v)
sample = model.sample(nodes, protein.edge_index,  # shape = (n_samples, n_nodes)
                      edges, n_samples=n_samples)

The output will be an int tensor, with mappings corresponding to those used when training the model.


Portions of the input data pipeline were adapted from Ingraham, et al, NeurIPS 2019. We thank Pratham Soni for portions of the implementation in PyTorch.


    title={Learning from Protein Structure with Geometric Vector Perceptrons},
    author={Bowen Jing and Stephan Eismann and Patricia Suriana and Raphael John Lamarre Townshend and Ron Dror},
    booktitle={International Conference on Learning Representations},