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  1. Data-driven interatomic potentials (IPs) trained on large collections of first principles calculations are rapidly becoming essential tools in the fields of computational materials science and chemistry for performing atomic-scale simulations. Despite this, apart from a few notable exceptions, there is a distinct lack of well-organized, public datasets in common formats available for use with IP development. This deficiency precludes the research community from implementing widespread benchmarking, which is essential for gaining insight into model performance and transferability, and also limits the development of more general, or even universal, IPs. To address this issue, we introduce the ColabFit Exchange, the first database providing open access to a large collection of systematically organized datasets from multiple domains that is especially designed for IP development. The ColabFit Exchange is publicly available at, providing a web-based interface for exploring, downloading, and contributing datasets. Composed of data collected from the literature or provided by community researchers, the ColabFit Exchange currently (September 2023) consists of 139 datasets spanning nearly 70 000 unique chemistries, and is intended to continuously grow. In addition to outlining the software framework used for constructing and accessing the ColabFit Exchange, we also provide analyses of the data, quantifying the diversity of the database and proposing metrics for assessing the relative diversity of multiple datasets. Finally, we demonstrate an end-to-end IP development pipeline, utilizing datasets from the ColabFit Exchange, fitting tools from the KLIFF software package, and validation tests provided by the OpenKIM framework.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 21, 2024
  2. In this paper, we consider the problem of quantifying parametric uncertainty in classical empirical interatomic potentials (IPs) using both Bayesian (Markov Chain Monte Carlo) and frequentist (profile likelihood) methods. We interface these tools with the Open Knowledgebase of Interatomic Models and study three models based on the Lennard-Jones, Morse, and Stillinger–Weber potentials. We confirm that IPs are typically sloppy, i.e., insensitive to coordinated changes in some parameter combinations. Because the inverse problem in such models is ill-conditioned, parameters are unidentifiable. This presents challenges for traditional statistical methods, as we demonstrate and interpret within both Bayesian and frequentist frameworks. We use information geometry to illuminate the underlying cause of this phenomenon and show that IPs have global properties similar to those of sloppy models from fields, such as systems biology, power systems, and critical phenomena. IPs correspond to bounded manifolds with a hierarchy of widths, leading to low effective dimensionality in the model. We show how information geometry can motivate new, natural parameterizations that improve the stability and interpretation of uncertainty quantification analysis and further suggest simplified, less-sloppy models. 
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