mBEEF-vdW: Robust fitting of error estimation density functionals

Keld T Lundgaard, Jess Wellendorff, Johannes Voss, Karsten W Jacobsen, Thomas Bligaard
Year of publication: 
Physical Review B

We propose a general-purpose semilocal/nonlocal exchange-correlation functional approximation, named mBEEF-vdW. The exchange is a meta generalized gradient approximation, and the correlation is a semilocal and nonlocal mixture, with the Rutgers-Chalmers approximation for van der Waals (vdW) forces. The functional is fitted within the Bayesian error estimation functional (BEEF) framework [J. Wellendorff et al., Phys. Rev. B 85, 235149 (2012); J. Wellendorff et al., J. Chem. Phys. 140, 144107 (2014)]. We improve the previously used fitting procedures by introducing a robust MM-estimator based loss function, reducing the sensitivity to outliers in the datasets. To more reliably determine the optimal model complexity, we furthermore introduce a generalization of the bootstrap 0.632 estimator with hierarchical bootstrap sampling and geometric mean estimator over the training datasets. Using this estimator, we show that the robust loss function leads to a 10% improvement in the estimated prediction error over the previously used least-squares loss function. The mBEEF-vdW functional is benchmarked against popular density functional approximations over a wide range of datasets relevant for heterogeneous catalysis, including datasets that were not used for its training. Overall, we find that mBEEF-vdW has a higher general accuracy than competing popular functionals, and it is one of the best performing functionals on chemisorption systems, surface energies, lattice constants, and dispersion. We also show the potential-energy curve of graphene on the nickel(111) surface, where mBEEF-vdW matches the experimental binding length. mBEEF-vdW is currently available in gpaw and other density functional theory codes through Libxc, version 3.0.0.

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