Molecular dynamics based enhanced sampling of collective variables with very large time steps

Pei Yang Chen, Mark E. Tuckerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Enhanced sampling techniques that target a set of collective variables and that use molecular dynamics as the driving engine have seen widespread application in the computational molecular sciences as a means to explore the free-energy landscapes of complex systems. The use of molecular dynamics as the fundamental driver of the sampling requires the introduction of a time step whose magnitude is limited by the fastest motions in a system. While standard multiple time-stepping methods allow larger time steps to be employed for the slower and computationally more expensive forces, the maximum achievable increase in time step is limited by resonance phenomena, which inextricably couple fast and slow motions. Recently, we introduced deterministic and stochastic resonance-free multiple time step algorithms for molecular dynamics that solve this resonance problem and allow ten- to twenty-fold gains in the large time step compared to standard multiple time step algorithms [P. Minary et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 93, 150201 (2004); B. Leimkuhler et al., Mol. Phys. 111, 3579-3594 (2013)]. These methods are based on the imposition of isokinetic constraints that couple the physical system to Nosé-Hoover chains or Nosé-Hoover Langevin schemes. In this paper, we show how to adapt these methods for collective variable-based enhanced sampling techniques, specifically adiabatic free-energy dynamics/temperature-accelerated molecular dynamics, unified free-energy dynamics, and by extension, metadynamics, thus allowing simulations employing these methods to employ similarly very large time steps. The combination of resonance-free multiple time step integrators with free-energy-based enhanced sampling significantly improves the efficiency of conformational exploration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024106
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 14 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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