Adaptive Bandit


  • Adaptive sampling algorithms usually employ empirical policies, and they are not based on any mathematical decission process.

  • We descrive adaptive sampling in terms of a multi-armed bandit problem to develop a novel adaptive sampling algorithm, Adaptive Bandit [ref], providing strong fundamentals to tackle the exploration-exploitation dilemma faced in adaptive sampling.

  • Adaptive Bandit is framed into a reinforcement-learning based framework, using an action-value function and an upper confidence bound selection algorithm, improving adaptive sampling’s performance and versatility when faced against different free energy landscape.

  • Discretized conformational states are defined as actions, and each action has an associated reward distribution. When an action is picked, the algorithm computes the associated reward for that action, based on MSM free energy estimations, and applies a policy to select the next action.

  • AdaptiveBandit relies on the UCB1 algorithm to optimize the action-picking policy, defining an upper confidence bound for each action based on the number of times the agent has picked that action and the total number of actions taken

\[a_t = argmax_{a\in\mathcal{A}}\left[{Q_t(a) + c\sqrt{\frac{\ln{t}}{N_t(a)}}}\right]\]

A. Pérez, P. Herrera-Nieto, S. Doerr and G. De Fabritiis, AdaptiveBandit: A multi-armed bandit framework for adaptive sampling in molecular simulations. arXiv preprint 2020; arXiv:2002.12582.

Auer P. Using confidence bounds for exploitation-exploration trade-offs. Journal of Machine Learning Research. 2002; 3(Nov):397-422.

Getting started

This tutorial will show you how to properly set up an AdaptiveBandit project, highlighting the main differences with respect to the standard adaptive sampling. As an example, we will perform some folding simulations using the chicken villin headpice (PDB: 2F4K).

Let’s start by importing HTMD and the AdaptiveBandit class:

from htmd.ui import *
from htmd.adaptive.adaptivebandit import AdaptiveBandit

AdaptiveBandit uses the same project structure as adaptive sampling, with each simulation being associated to a single directory with all the files to run it.

To begin, get the starting generators here. You can also download the data using wget -O gen.tar.gz You will have to uncompress that tar.gz file and allow execution in all files.

for file in glob.glob('./generators/*/'):
    os.chmod(file, 0o755)

These generators contain prepared unfolded structures of villin, which we want to simulate long enough to reach the folded native structure.


We start our AdaptiveBandit project in the same way as with adaptive sampling, by defining the queue used for simulations.

queue = LocalGPUQueue()
queue.datadir = './data'
ab = AdaptiveBandit() = queue

Then, we define the nmin, nmax and nframes to set the maximum amount of simulated frames

ab.nframes = 1000000

And we choose the projection and clustering method used to construct a Markov model at each epoch

ab.clustmethod = MiniBatchKMeans
ab.projection = MetricSelfDistance('protein and name CA')

Up until now, the setup is exactly the same as with AdaptiveMD. However, AdaptiveBandit has an additional parameter, which sets the \(c\) parameter from the UCB1 equation:

ab.exploration = 0.01

Additionally, AdaptiveBandit accepts a goal function as an input that will be used to initialize our action-value estimates. In this example, we will use the contacts goal function defined in the previous tutorial to initialize the \(Q(a)\) values. The goal_init parameter sets an \(N_t(a)\) initial value proportional to the max frames per cluster at the end of the run, which represents the statistical certainty we give to the goal function.

ref = Molecule('2F4K')

def contactGoal(mol, crystal):
    crystalCO = MetricSelfDistance('protein and name CA', pbc=False,
    proj = MetricSelfDistance('protein and name CA',
    # How many crystal contacts are seen?
    co_score = np.sum(proj[:, crystalCO] == 1, axis=1)
    co_score /= np.sum(crystalCO)
    return co_score

ab.goalfunction = (contactGoal, (ref,))
ab.goal_init = 0.3

And now, we just need to launch our AdaptiveBandit run: