Unified Approach to Enhanced Sampling

M Invernizzi and PM Piaggi and M Parrinello, PHYSICAL REVIEW X, 10, 041034 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.10.041034

The sampling problem lies at the heart of atomistic simulations and over the years many different enhanced sampling methods have been suggested toward its solution. These methods are often grouped into two broad families. On the one hand, are methods such as umbrella sampling and metadynamics that build a bias potential based on few order parameters or collective variables. On the other hand, are tempering methods such as replica exchange that combine different thermodynamic ensembles in one single expanded ensemble. We instead adopt a unifying perspective, focusing on the target probability distribution sampled by the different methods. This allows us to introduce a new class of collective- variables-based bias potentials that can be used to sample any of the expanded ensembles normally sampled via replica exchange. We also provide a practical implementation by properly adapting the iterative scheme of the recently developed on-the-fly probability enhanced sampling method M. Invernizzi and M. Parrinello, J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 11, 2731 (2020), which was originally introduced for metadynamics-like sampling. The resulting method is very general and can be used to achieve different types of enhanced sampling. It is also reliable and simple to use, since it presents only few and robust external parameters and has a straightforward reweighting scheme. Furthermore, it can be used with any number of parallel replicas. We show the versatility of our approach with applications to multicanonical and multithermal- multibaric simulations, thermodynamic integration, umbrella sampling, and combinations thereof.

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