Learning from flowsheets: A generative transformer model for autocompletion of flowsheets


We propose a novel method enabling autocompletion of chemical flowsheets. This idea is inspired by the autocompletion of text. We represent flowsheets as strings using the text-based SFILES 2.0 notation and learn the grammatical structure of the SFILES 2.0 language and common patterns in flowsheets using a transformer-based language model. We pre-train our model on synthetically generated flowsheet topologies to learn the flowsheet language grammar. Then, we fine-tune our model in a transfer learning step on real flowsheet topologies. Finally, we use the trained model for causal language modeling to autocomplete flowsheets. Eventually, the proposed method can provide chemical engineers with recommendations during interactive flowsheet synthesis. The results demonstrate a high potential of this approach for future AI-assisted process synthesis but also reveal the limitations at the present state and the next steps that need to be taken to deploy this technique in realistic flowsheet synthesis scenarios.

Computers & Chemical Engineering