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Workshop: Machine Learning in Structural Biology Workshop

Rethinking Performance Measures of RNA Secondary Structure Problems

Frederic Runge · Jörg Franke · Daniel Fertmann · Frank Hutter


Accurate RNA secondary structure prediction is vital for understanding cellular regulation and disease mechanisms. Deep learning (DL) methods have surpassed traditional algorithms by predicting complex features like pseudoknots and multi-interacting base pairs. However, traditional distance measures can hardly deal with such tertiary interactions and the currently used evaluation measures (F1 score, MCC) have limitations. We propose the Weisfeiler-Lehman graph kernel (WL) as an alternative metric. Embracing graph-based metrics like WL enables fair and accurate evaluation of RNA structure prediction algorithms. Further, WL provides informative guidance, as demonstrated in an RNA design experiment.

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