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  1. Abstract

    Machine learning interatomic potentials (IPs) can provide accuracy close to that of first-principles methods, such as density functional theory (DFT), at a fraction of the computational cost. This greatly extends the scope of accurate molecular simulations, providing opportunities for quantitative design of materials and devices on scales hitherto unreachable by DFT methods. However, machine learning IPs have a basic limitation in that they lack a physical model for the phenomena being predicted and therefore have unknown accuracy when extrapolating outside their training set. In this paper, we propose a class of Dropout Uncertainty Neural Network (DUNN) potentials that provide rigorous uncertainty estimates that can be understood from both Bayesian and frequentist statistics perspectives. As an example, we develop a DUNN potential for carbon and show how it can be used to predict uncertainty for static and dynamical properties, including stress and phonon dispersion in graphene. We demonstrate two approaches to propagate uncertainty in the potential energy and atomic forces to predicted properties. In addition, we show that DUNN uncertainty estimates can be used to detect configurations outside the training set, and in some cases, can serve as a predictor for the accuracy of a calculation.

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  2. Abstract

    Modeling and simulation is transforming modern materials science, becoming an important tool for the discovery of new materials and material phenomena, for gaining insight into the processes that govern materials behavior, and, increasingly, for quantitative predictions that can be used as part of a design tool in full partnership with experimental synthesis and characterization. Modeling and simulation is the essential bridge from good science to good engineering, spanning from fundamental understanding of materials behavior to deliberate design of new materials technologies leveraging new properties and processes. This Roadmap presents a broad overview of the extensive impact computational modeling has had in materials science in the past few decades, and offers focused perspectives on where the path forward lies as this rapidly expanding field evolves to meet the challenges of the next few decades. The Roadmap offers perspectives on advances within disciplines as diverse as phase field methods to model mesoscale behavior and molecular dynamics methods to deduce the fundamental atomic-scale dynamical processes governing materials response, to the challenges involved in the interdisciplinary research that tackles complex materials problems where the governing phenomena span different scales of materials behavior requiring multiscale approaches. The shift from understanding fundamental materials behavior to development of quantitative approaches to explain and predict experimental observations requires advances in the methods and practice in simulations for reproducibility and reliability, and interacting with a computational ecosystem that integrates new theory development, innovative applications, and an increasingly integrated software and computational infrastructure that takes advantage of the increasingly powerful computational methods and computing hardware.

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  3. 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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  4. For decades, atomistic modeling has played a crucial role in predicting the behavior of materials in numerous fields ranging from nanotechnology to drug discovery. The most accurate methods in this domain are rooted in first-principles quantum mechanical calculations such as density functional theory (DFT). Because these methods have remained computationally prohibitive, practitioners have traditionally focused on defining physically motivated closed-form expressions known as empirical interatomic potentials (EIPs) that approximately model the interactions between atoms in materials. In recent years, neural network (NN)-based potentials trained on quantum mechanical (DFT-labeled) data have emerged as a more accurate alternative to conventional EIPs. However, the generalizability of these models relies heavily on the amount of labeled training data, which is often still insufficient to generate models suitable for general-purpose applications. In this paper, we propose two generic strategies that take advantage of unlabeled training instances to inject domain knowledge from conventional EIPs to NNs in order to increase their generalizability. The first strategy, based on weakly supervised learning, trains an auxiliary classifier on EIPs and selects the best-performing EIP to generate energies to supplement the ground-truth DFT energies in training the NN. The second strategy, based on transfer learning, first pretrains the NN on a large set of easily obtainable EIP energies, and then fine-tunes it on ground-truth DFT energies. Experimental results on three benchmark datasets demonstrate that the first strategy improves baseline NN performance by 5% to 51% while the second improves baseline performance by up to 55%. Combining them further boosts performance. 
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