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  1. Computing landscape is evolving rapidly. Exascale computers have arrived, which can perform 10^18 mathematical operations per second. At the same time, quantum supremacy has been demonstrated, where quantum computers have outperformed these fastest supercomputers for certain problems. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming every aspect of science and engineering. A highly anticipated application of the emerging nexus of exascale computing, quantum computing and AI is computational design of new materials with desired functionalities, which has been the elusive goal of the federal materials genome initiative. The rapid change in computing landscape resulting from these developments has not been matched by pedagogical developments needed to train the next generation of materials engineering cyberworkforce. This gap in curricula across colleges and universities offers a unique opportunity to create educational tools, enabling a decentralized training of cyberworkforce. To achieve this, we have developed training modules for a new generation of quantum materials simulator, named AIQ-XMaS (AI and quantum-computing enabled exascale materials simulator), which integrates exascalable quantum, reactive and neural-network molecular dynamics simulations with unique AI and quantum-computing capabilities to study a wide range of materials and devices of high societal impact such as optoelectronics and health. As a singleentry access point to these training modules, we have also built a CyberMAGICS (cyber training on materials genome innovation for computational software) portal, which includes step-by-step instructions in Jupyter notebooks and associated tutorials, while providing online cloud service for those who do not have access to adequate computing platform. The modules are incorporated into our open-source AIQ-XMaS software suite as tutorial examples and are piloted in classroom and workshop settings to directly train many users at the University of Southern California (USC) and Howard University—one of the largest historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), with a strong focus on underrepresented groups. In this paper, we summarize these educational developments, including findings from the first CyberMAGICS Workshop for Underrepresented Groups, along with an introduction to the AIQ-XMaS software suite. Our training modules also include a new generation of open programming languages for exascale computing (e.g., OpenMP target) and quantum computing (e.g., Qiskit) used in our scalable simulation and AI engines that underlie AIQ-XMaS. Our training modules essentially support unique dual-degree opportunities at USC in the emerging exa-quantum-AI era: Ph.D. in science or engineering, concurrently with MS in computer science specialized in high-performance computing and simulations, MS in quantum information science or MS in materials engineering with machine learning. The developed modular cyber-training pedagogy is applicable to broad engineering education at large. 
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  2. Machine learning represents a milestone in data-driven research, including material informatics, robotics, and computer-aided drug discovery. With the continuously growing virtual and synthetically available chemical space, efficient and robust quantitative structure–activity relationship (QSAR) methods are required to uncover molecules with desired properties. Herein, we propose variable-length-array SMILES-based (VLA-SMILES) structural descriptors that expand conventional SMILES descriptors widely used in machine learning. This structural representation extends the family of numerically coded SMILES, particularly binary SMILES, to expedite the discovery of new deep learning QSAR models with high predictive ability. VLA-SMILES descriptors were shown to speed up the training of QSAR models based on multilayer perceptron (MLP) with optimized backpropagation (ATransformedBP), resilient propagation (iRPROP‒), and Adam optimization learning algorithms featuring rational train–test splitting, while improving the predictive ability toward the more compute-intensive binary SMILES representation format. All the tested MLPs under the same length-array-based SMILES descriptors showed similar predictive ability and convergence rate of training in combination with the considered learning procedures. Validation with the Kennard–Stone train–test splitting based on the structural descriptor similarity metrics was found more effective than the partitioning with the ranking by activity based on biological activity values metrics for the entire set of VLA-SMILES featured QSAR. Robustness and the predictive ability of MLP models based on VLA-SMILES were assessed via the method of QSAR parametric model validation. In addition, the method of the statistical H0 hypothesis testing of the linear regression between real and observed activities based on the F2,n−2 -criteria was used for predictability estimation among VLA-SMILES featured QSAR-MLPs (with n being the volume of the testing set). Both approaches of QSAR parametric model validation and statistical hypothesis testing were found to correlate when used for the quantitative evaluation of predictabilities of the designed QSAR models with VLA-SMILES descriptors. 
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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 7, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Typical ductile materials are metals, which deform by the motion of defects like dislocations in association with non-directional metallic bonds. Unfortunately, this textbook mechanism does not operate in most inorganic semiconductors at ambient temperature, thus severely limiting the development of much-needed flexible electronic devices. We found a shear-deformation mechanism in a recently discovered ductile semiconductor, monoclinic-silver sulfide (Ag2S), which is defect-free, omni-directional, and preserving perfect crystallinity. Our first-principles molecular dynamics simulations elucidate the ductile deformation mechanism in monoclinic-Ag2S under six types of shear systems. Planer mass movement of sulfur atoms plays an important role for the remarkable structural recovery of sulfur-sublattice. This in turn arises from a distinctively high symmetry of the anion-sublattice in Ag2S, which is not seen in other brittle silver chalcogenides. Such mechanistic and lattice-symmetric understanding provides a guideline for designing even higher-performance ductile inorganic semiconductors.

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  5. Optoelectronic properties of devices made of two-dimensional materials depend largely on the dielectric constant and thickness of a substrate. To systematically investigate the thickness dependence of dielectric constant from first principles, we have implemented a double-cell method based on a theoretical framework by Martyna and Tuckerman [J. Chem. Phys. 110, 2810 (1999)] and therewith developed a general and robust procedure to calculate dielectric constants of slab systems from electric displacement and electric field, which is free from material-specific adjustable parameters. We have applied the procedure to a prototypical substrate, Al 2 O 3 , thereby computing high-frequency and static dielectric constants of a finite slab as a function of the number of crystalline unit-cell layers. We find that two and four layers are sufficient for the high-frequency and static dielectric constants of (0001) Al 2 O 3 slabs to recover 90% of the respective bulk values computed by a Berry-phase method. This method allows one to estimate the thickness dependence of dielectric constants for various materials used in emerging two-dimensional nanophotonics, while providing an analytic formula that can be incorporated into photonics simulations. 
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  6. Metal-fullerene compounds are characterized by significant electron transfer to the fullerene cage, giving rise to an electric dipole moment. We use the method of electrostatic beam deflection to verify whether such reactions take place within superfluid helium nanodroplets between an embedded C 60 molecule and either alkali (heliophobic) or rare-earth (heliophilic) atoms. The two cases lead to distinctly different outcomes: C 60 Na n ( n = 1–4) display no discernable dipole moment, while C 60 Yb is strongly polar. This suggests that the fullerene and small alkali clusters fail to form a charge-transfer bond in the helium matrix despite their strong van der Waals attraction. The C 60 Yb dipole moment, on the other hand, is in agreement with the value expected for an ionic complex. 
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  7. Cracks are the defects formed by cyclic loading, fatigue, shrinkage, creep, and so on. In addition, they represent the deterioration of the structures over some time. Therefore, it is essential to detect and classify them according to the condition grade at the early stages to prevent the collapse of structures. Deep learning-based semantic segmentation convolutional neural network (CNN) has millions of learnable parameters. However, depending on the complexity of the CNN, it takes hours to days to train the network fully. In this study, an encoder network DenseNet and modified LinkNet with five upsampling blocks were used as a decoder network. The proposed network is referred to as the “CrackDenseLinkNet” in this work. CrackDenseLinkNet has 19.15 million trainable parameters, although the input image size is 512 × 512 and has a deeper encoder. CrackDenseLinkNet and four other state-of-the-art (SOTA) methods were evaluated on three public and one private datasets. The proposed CNN, CrackDenseLinkNet, outperformed the best SOTA method, CrackSegNet, by 2.2% of F1-score on average across the four datasets. Lastly, a crack profile analysis demonstrated that the CrackDenseLinkNet has lesser variance in relative errors for the crack width, length, and area categories against the ground-truth data. The code and datasets can be downloaded at .

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