Structure optimization with stochastic density functional theory

Ming Chen*, Roi Baer, Eran Rabani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Linear-scaling techniques for Kohn-Sham density functional theory are essential to describe the ground state properties of extended systems. Still, these techniques often rely on the localization of the density matrix or accurate embedding approaches, limiting their applicability. In contrast, stochastic density functional theory (sDFT) achieves linear- and sub-linear scaling by statistically sampling the ground state density without relying on embedding or imposing localization. In return, ground state observables, such as the forces on the nuclei, fluctuate in sDFT, making optimizing the nuclear structure a highly non-trivial problem. In this work, we combine the most recent noise-reduction schemes for sDFT with stochastic optimization algorithms to perform structure optimization within sDFT. We compare the performance of the stochastic gradient descent approach and its variations (stochastic gradient descent with momentum) with stochastic optimization techniques that rely on the Hessian, such as the stochastic Broyden-Fletcher-Goldfarb-Shanno algorithm. We further provide a detailed assessment of the computational efficiency and its dependence on the optimization parameters of each method for determining the ground state structure of bulk silicon with varying supercell dimensions.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number024111
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2023

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