Spotlight
Evaluating Protein Transfer Learning with TAPE
Roshan Rao · Nicholas Bhattacharya · Neil Thomas · Yan Duan · Peter Chen · John Canny · Pieter Abbeel · Yun Song

Thu Dec 12th 04:50 -- 04:55 PM @ West Exhibition Hall B

Protein modeling is an increasingly popular area of machine learning research. Semi-supervised learning has emerged as an important paradigm in protein modeling due to the high cost of acquiring supervised protein labels, but the current literature is fragmented when it comes to datasets and standardized evaluation techniques. To facilitate progress in this field, we introduce the Tasks Assessing Protein Embeddings (TAPE), a set of five biologically relevant semi-supervised learning tasks spread across different domains of protein biology. We curate tasks into specific training, validation, and test splits to ensure that each task tests biologically relevant generalization that transfers to real-life scenarios. We benchmark a range of approaches to semi-supervised protein representation learning, which span recent work as well as canonical sequence learning techniques. We find that self-supervised pretraining is helpful for almost all models on all tasks, more than doubling performance in some cases. Despite this increase, in several cases features learned by self-supervised pretraining still lag behind features extracted by state-of-the-art non-neural techniques. This gap in performance suggests a huge opportunity for innovative architecture design and improved modeling paradigms that better capture the signal in biological sequences. TAPE will help the machine learning community focus effort on scientifically relevant problems. Toward this end, all data and code used to run these experiments is available at https://github.com/songlab-cal/tape

Author Information

Roshan Rao (UC Berkeley)
Nicholas Bhattacharya (UC Berkeley)
Neil Thomas (UC Berkeley)
Yan Duan (COVARIANT.AI)
Peter Chen (COVARIANT.AI)
John Canny (UC Berkeley)
Pieter Abbeel (UC Berkeley & covariant.ai)

Pieter Abbeel is Professor and Director of the Robot Learning Lab at UC Berkeley [2008- ], Co-Director of the Berkeley AI Research (BAIR) Lab, Co-Founder of covariant.ai [2017- ], Co-Founder of Gradescope [2014- ], Advisor to OpenAI, Founding Faculty Partner AI@TheHouse venture fund, Advisor to many AI/Robotics start-ups. He works in machine learning and robotics. In particular his research focuses on making robots learn from people (apprenticeship learning), how to make robots learn through their own trial and error (reinforcement learning), and how to speed up skill acquisition through learning-to-learn (meta-learning). His robots have learned advanced helicopter aerobatics, knot-tying, basic assembly, organizing laundry, locomotion, and vision-based robotic manipulation. He has won numerous awards, including best paper awards at ICML, NIPS and ICRA, early career awards from NSF, Darpa, ONR, AFOSR, Sloan, TR35, IEEE, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Pieter's work is frequently featured in the popular press, including New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, Wired, Forbes, Tech Review, NPR.

Yun Song (UC Berkeley)

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