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Stochastic Multiconfigurational Self-Consistent Field Theory

Thomas, R.E.; Sun, Q.; Alavi, A.; Booth, G.H.

Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation 11(11): 5316-5325

2016

The multiconfigurational self-consistent field theory is considered the standard starting point for almost all multireference approaches required for strongly correlated molecular problems. The limitation of the approach is generally given by the number of strongly correlated orbitals in the molecule, since its cost will grow exponentially with this number. We present a new multiconfigurational self-consistent field approach, wherein linear determinant coefficients of a multiconfigurational wave function are optimized via the stochastic full configuration interaction quantum Monte Carlo technique at greatly reduced computational cost, with nonlinear orbital rotation parameters updated variationally based on this sampled wave function. This extends this approach to strongly correlated systems with far larger active spaces than it is possible to treat via conventional means. By comparison with this traditional approach, we demonstrate that the introduction of stochastic noise in both the determinant amplitudes and the gradient and Hessian of the orbital rotations does not preclude robust and reliable convergence of the orbital optimization. It can even improve the ability to avoid convergence to local minima in the orbital space, and therefore aid in finding variationally lower-energy solutions. We consider the effect on the convergence of the orbitals as the number of walkers and the sampling time within the active space increases, as well as the effect on the final energy and error. The scope of the new protocol is demonstrated with a study of the increasingly strongly correlated electronic structure in a series of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, up to the large coronene molecule in a complete active space of 24 π electrons in 24 orbitals, requiring only modest computational resources

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