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Incorporating Electronic Information into Machine Learning Potential Energy Surfaces via Approaching the Ground-State Electronic Energy as a Function of Atom-Based Electronic Populations.


Machine learning (ML) approximations to density functional theory (DFT) potential energy surfaces (PESs) are showing great promise for reducing the computational cost of accurate molecular simulations, but at present, they are not applicable to varying electronic states, and in particular, they are not well suited for molecular systems in which the local electronic structure is sensitive to the medium to long-range electronic environment. With this issue as the focal point, we present a new machine learning approach called "BpopNN" for obtaining efficient approximations to DFT PESs. Conceptually, the methodology is based on approaching the true DFT energy as a function of electron populations on atoms; in practice, this is realized with available density functionals and constrained DFT (CDFT). The new approach creates approximations to this function with neural networks. These approximations thereby incorporate electronic information naturally into a ML approach, and optimizing the model energy with respect to populations allows the electronic terms to self-consistently adapt to the environment, as in DFT. We confirm the effectiveness of this approach with a variety of calculations on LinHn clusters.

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