The choice of simulation methods in computational materials science is driven by a fundamental trade-off: bridging large time- and length-scales with highly accurate simulations at an affordable computational cost. Venturing the investigation of complex phenomena on large scales requires fast yet accurate computational methods. We review the emerging field of machine-learned potentials, which promises to reach the accuracy of quantum mechanical computations at a substantially reduced computational cost. This Review will summarize the basic principles of the underlying machine learning methods, the data acquisition process and active learning procedures. We highlight multiple recent applications of machine-learned potentials in various fields, ranging from organic chemistry and biomolecules to inorganic crystal structure predictions and surface science. We furthermore discuss the developments required to promote a broader use of ML potentials, and the possibility of using them to help solve open questions in materials science and facilitate fully computational materials design.
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The authors thank G. dos Passos Gomes and S. Y. Guo for helpful discussions about the literature in the field of ML potentials. P.F. acknowledges funding by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 795206 (MolDesign). J.P. appreciates funding through an Early Postdoc.Mobility fellowship by the Swiss National Science Foundation (project no. 178463). F.H. acknowledges support from the Herchel Smith Graduate Fellowship and the Jacques-Emile Dubois Student Dissertation Fellowship. The authors acknowledge support by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and the Canada 150 Research Chair Program, as well as the generous support of A. G. Frøseth.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Friederich, P., Häse, F., Proppe, J. et al. Machine-learned potentials for next-generation matter simulations. Nat. Mater. 20, 750–761 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41563-020-0777-6
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