Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Machine learning is a rapidly evolving field in computer science with increasingly many applications to other domains. In this thesis, I present a Bayesian machine learning approach to solving a problem in theoretical surface science: calculating the preferred active site on a catalyst surface for a given adsorbate molecule. I formulate the problem as a low-dimensional objective function. I show how the objective function can be approximated into a certain confidence interval using just one iteration of the self-consistent field (SCF) loop in density functional theory (DFT). I then use Bayesian optimization to perform a global search for the solution. My approach outperforms the current state-of-the-art method, constrained minima hopping, for CO on ferric oxide by a factor of 75 to 1. This thesis is the first documented application of Bayesian optimization to surface science.
Cynthia Lo Roman Garnett Michael Brent