Bayesian Machine Learning Approach to the Quantification of Uncertainties on Ab Initio Potential Energy Surfaces

S. Venturi, R. L. Jaffe, M. Panesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work introduces a novel methodology for the quantification of uncertainties associated with potential energy surfaces (PESs) computed from first-principles quantum mechanical calculations. The methodology relies on Bayesian inference and machine learning techniques to construct a stochastic PES and to express the inadequacies associated with the ab initio data points and their fit. By combining high fidelity calculations and reduced-order modeling, the resulting stochastic surface is efficiently forward propagated via quasi-classical trajectory and master equation calculations. In this way, the PES contribution to the uncertainty on predefined quantities of interest (QoIs) is explicitly determined. This study is done at both microscopic (e.g., rovibrational-specific rate coefficients) and macroscopic (e.g., thermal and chemical relaxation properties) levels. A correlation analysis is finally applied to identify the PES regions that require further refinement, based on their effects on the QoI reliability. The methodology is applied to the study of singlet (11A′) and quintet (25A′) PESs describing the interaction between O2 molecules and O atoms in their ground electronic state. The investigation of the singlet surface reveals a negligible uncertainty on the kinetic properties and relaxation times, which are found to be in excellent agreement with the ones previously published in the literature. On the other hand, the methodology demonstrated significant uncertainty on the quintet surface, due to inaccuracies in the description of the exchange barrier and the repulsive wall. When forward propagated, this uncertainty is responsible for the variability of 1 order of magnitude in the vibrational relaxation time and of factor four in the exchange reaction rate coefficient, both at 2500 K.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5129-5146
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry A
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 25 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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