PREPRINT - DEEPCON: Protein Contact Prediction using Dilated Convolutional Neural Networks with Dropout

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Abstract Background: Exciting new opportunities have arisen to solve the protein contact prediction problem from the progress in neural networks and the availability of a large number of homologous sequences through high-throughput sequencing. In this work, we study how deep convolutional neural network methods (ConvNets) may be best designed and developed to solve this long-standing problem. Method: With publicly available datasets, we designed and trained various ConvNet architectures. We tested several recent deep learning techniques including wide residual networks, dropouts, and dilated convolutions. We studied the improvements in the precision of medium-range and long-range contacts, and compared the performance of our best architectures with the ones used in existing state-of-the-art methods. Results: The proposed ConvNet architectures predict contacts with significantly more precision than the architectures used in several state-of-the-art methods. When trained using the DeepCov dataset consisting of 3,456 proteins and tested on PSICOV dataset of 150 proteins, our architectures achieve up to 15% higher precision when L/2 long-range contacts are evaluated. Similarly, when trained using the DNCON2 dataset consisting of 1,426 proteins and tested on 84 protein domains in the CASP12 dataset, our single network achieves 4.8% higher precision than the ensembled DNCON2 method when top L long-range contacts are evaluated. DEEPCON will be made publicly available at

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