Automated discovery of a robust interatomic potential for aluminum

Justin S. Smith, Benjamin Nebgen, Nithin Mathew, Jie Chen, Nicholas Lubbers, Leonid Burakovsky, Sergei Tretiak, Hai Ah Nam, Timothy Germann, Saryu Fensin, Kipton Barros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Machine learning, trained on quantum mechanics (QM) calculations, is a powerful tool for modeling potential energy surfaces. A critical factor is the quality and diversity of the training dataset. Here we present a highly automated approach to dataset construction and demonstrate the method by building a potential for elemental aluminum (ANI-Al). In our active learning scheme, the ML potential under development is used to drive non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations with time-varying applied temperatures. Whenever a configuration is reached for which the ML uncertainty is large, new QM data is collected. The ML model is periodically retrained on all available QM data. The final ANI-Al potential makes very accurate predictions of radial distribution function in melt, liquid-solid coexistence curve, and crystal properties such as defect energies and barriers. We perform a 1.3M atom shock simulation and show that ANI-Al force predictions shine in their agreement with new reference DFT calculations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1257
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


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