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Workshop: NeurIPS 2023 Workshop: Machine Learning and the Physical Sciences

Orbital-Free Density Functional Theory with Continuous Normalizing Flows

Rodrigo Vargas-Hernandez · Ricky T. Q. Chen · Alexandre de Camargo


Orbital-free density functional theory (OF-DFT) provides an alternative approach for calculating the molecular electronic energy, relying solely on the electron density. In OF-DFT, both the ground-state density is optimized variationally to minimize the total energy functional while satisfying the normalization constraint. In this work, we introduce a novel approach by parameterizing the electronic density with a normalizing flow ansatz, which is also optimized by minimizing the total energy functional. Our model successfully replicates the electronic density for a diverse range of chemical systems, including a one-dimensional diatomic molecule, specifically Lithium hydride with varying interatomic distances, as well as comprehensive simulations of hydrogen and water molecules, all conducted in Cartesian space.

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