Topology Automated Force-Field Interactions (TAFFI): A Framework for Developing Transferable Force Fields

Bumjoon Seo, Zih Yu Lin, Qiyuan Zhao, Michael A. Webb, Brett M. Savoie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Force-field development has undergone a revolution in the past decade with the proliferation of quantum chemistry based parametrizations and the introduction of machine learning approximations of the atomistic potential energy surface. Nevertheless, transferable force fields with broad coverage of organic chemical space remain necessary for applications in materials and chemical discovery where throughput, consistency, and computational cost are paramount. Here, we introduce a force-field development framework called Topology Automated Force-Field Interactions (TAFFI) for developing transferable force fields of varying complexity against an extensible database of quantum chemistry calculations. TAFFI formalizes the concept of atom typing and makes it the basis for generating systematic training data that maintains a one-to-one correspondence with force-field terms. This feature makes TAFFI arbitrarily extensible to new chemistries while maintaining internal consistency and transferability. As a demonstration of TAFFI, we have developed a fixed-charge force-field, TAFFI-gen, from scratch that includes coverage for common organic functional groups that is comparable to established transferable force fields. The performance of TAFFI-gen was benchmarked against OPLS and GAFF for reproducing several experimental properties of 87 organic liquids. The consistent performance of these force fields, despite their distinct origins, validates the TAFFI framework while also providing evidence of the representability limitations of fixed-charge force fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5013-5027
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 25 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications


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