Transformer with Implicit Edges for Particle-Based Physics Simulation

Yidi Shao, Chen Change Loy, Bo Dai ;


"Particle-based systems provide a flexible and unified way to simulate physics systems with complex dynamics. Most existing data-driven simulators for particle-based systems adopt graph neural networks (GNNs) as their network backbones, as particles and their interactions can be naturally represented by graph nodes and graph edges. However, while particle-based systems usually contain hundreds even thousands of particles, the explicit modeling of particle interactions as graph edges inevitably leads to a significant computational overhead, due to the increased number of particle interactions. Consequently, in this paper we propose a novel Transformer-based method, dubbed as Transformer with Implicit Edges (TIE), to capture the rich semantics of particle interactions in an edge-free manner. The core idea of TIE is to decentralize the computation involving pair-wise particle interactions into per-particle updates. This is achieved by adjusting the self-attention module to resemble the update formula of graph edges in GNN. To improve the generalization ability of TIE, we further amend TIE with learnable material-specific abstract particles to disentangle global material-wise semantics from local particle-wise semantics. We evaluate our model on diverse domains of varying complexity and materials. Compared with existing GNN-based methods, without bells and whistles, TIE achieves superior performance and generalization across all these domains. Codes and models are available at"

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