Two Wrongs Can Make a Right: A Transfer Learning Approach for Chemical Discovery with Chemical Accuracy

Chenru Duan, Daniel B. K. Chu, Aditya Nandy, Heather J. Kulik

Appropriately identifying and treating molecules and materials with significant multi-reference (MR) character is crucial for achieving high data fidelity in virtual high throughput screening (VHTS). Nevertheless, most VHTS is carried out with approximate density functional theory (DFT) using a single functional. Despite development of numerous MR diagnostics, the extent to which a single value of such a diagnostic indicates MR effect on chemical property prediction is not well established. We evaluate MR diagnostics of over 10,000 transition metal complexes (TMCs) and compare to those in organic molecules. We reveal that only some MR diagnostics are transferable across these materials spaces. By studying the influence of MR character on chemical properties (i.e., MR effect) that involves multiple potential energy surfaces (i.e., adiabatic spin splitting, $\Delta E_\mathrm{H-L}$, and ionization potential, IP), we observe that cancellation in MR effect outweighs accumulation. Differences in MR character are more important than the total degree of MR character in predicting MR effect in property prediction. Motivated by this observation, we build transfer learning models to directly predict CCSD(T)-level adiabatic $\Delta E_\mathrm{H-L}$ and IP from lower levels of theory. By combining these models with uncertainty quantification and multi-level modeling, we introduce a multi-pronged strategy that accelerates data acquisition by at least a factor of three while achieving chemical accuracy (i.e., 1 kcal/mol) for robust VHTS.

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