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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Quantum chemical accuracy from density functional approximations via machine learning.

  • Author(s): Bogojeski, Mihail
  • Vogt-Maranto, Leslie
  • Tuckerman, Mark E
  • Müller, Klaus-Robert
  • Burke, Kieron
  • et al.

Kohn-Sham density functional theory (DFT) is a standard tool in most branches of chemistry, but accuracies for many molecules are limited to 2-3 kcal ⋅ mol-1 with presently-available functionals. Ab initio methods, such as coupled-cluster, routinely produce much higher accuracy, but computational costs limit their application to small molecules. In this paper, we leverage machine learning to calculate coupled-cluster energies from DFT densities, reaching quantum chemical accuracy (errors below 1 kcal ⋅ mol-1) on test data. Moreover, density-based Δ-learning (learning only the correction to a standard DFT calculation, termed Δ-DFT ) significantly reduces the amount of training data required, particularly when molecular symmetries are included. The robustness of Δ-DFT  is highlighted by correcting "on the fly" DFT-based molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of resorcinol (C6H4(OH)2) to obtain MD trajectories with coupled-cluster accuracy. We conclude, therefore, that Δ-DFT  facilitates running gas-phase MD simulations with quantum chemical accuracy, even for strained geometries and conformer changes where standard DFT fails.

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