The challenge of stochastic Stormer-Verlet thermostats generating correct statistics

J Finkelstein and CH Cheng and G Fiorin and B Seibold and N Gronbech- Jensen, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 153, 134101 (2020).

DOI: 10.1063/5.0018962

In light of the recently developed complete GJ set of single random variable stochastic, discrete-time StOrmer-Verlet algorithms for statistically accurate simulations of Langevin equations N. GrOnbech- Jensen, Mol. Phys. 118, e1662506 (2020), we investigate two outstanding questions: (1) Are there any algorithmic or statistical benefits from including multiple random variables per time step and (2) are there objective reasons for using one or more methods from the available set of statistically correct algorithms? To address the first question, we assume a general form for the discrete-time equations with two random variables and then follow the systematic, brute-force GJ methodology by enforcing correct thermodynamics in linear systems. It is concluded that correct configurational Boltzmann sampling of a particle in a harmonic potential implies correct configurational free-particle diffusion and that these requirements only can be accomplished if the two random variables per time step are identical. We consequently submit that the GJ set represents all possible stochastic StOrmer-Verlet methods that can reproduce time step-independent statistics of linear systems. The second question is thus addressed within the GJ set. Based on numerical simulations of complex molecular systems, as well as on analytic considerations, we analyze apparent friction-induced differences in the stability of the methods. We attribute these differences to an inherent, friction-dependent discrete-time scaling, which depends on the specific method. We suggest that the method with the simplest interpretation of temporal scaling, the GJ-I/GJF-2GJ method, be preferred for statistical applications.

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