We present the active learning configuration interaction (ALCI) method for multiconfigurational calculations based on large active spaces. ALCI leverages the use of an active learning procedure to find important electronic configurations among the full configuration space generated within an active space. We tested it for the calculation of singlet-singlet excited states of acenes and pyrene, by using different machine learning algorithms. The ALCI method yields excitation energies within 0.2–0.3 eV from those obtained by traditional complete active space configuration interaction (CASCI) calculations (affordable for active spaces up to 16 electrons in 16 orbitals), by including only a small fraction of the CASCI configuration space in the calculations. For larger active spaces (up to 26 electrons in 26 orbitals), not affordable with traditional CI methods, ALCI captures the trends of experimental excitation energies. Overall ALCI provides satisfactory approximations to large active-space wave functions with up to ten orders of magnitude fewer configurations. These ALCI wave functions are promising and affordable starting points for subsequent second order perturbation theory or pair-density functional theory calculations.
Supporting Information: Active Learning CI