Generalized-ensemble algorithms: enhanced sampling techniques for Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations

Journal of Molecular Graphics & Modelling
Yuko Okamoto

Abstract

In complex systems with many degrees of freedom such as spin glass and biomolecular systems, conventional simulations in canonical ensemble suffer from the quasi-ergodicity problem. A simulation in generalized ensemble performs a random walk in potential energy space and overcomes this difficulty. From only one simulation run, one can obtain canonical ensemble averages of physical quantities as functions of temperature by the single-histogram and/or multiple-histogram reweighting techniques. In this article we review the generalized ensemble algorithms. Three well-known methods, namely, multicanonical algorithm (MUCA), simulated tempering (ST), and replica-exchange method (REM), are described first. Both Monte Carlo (MC) and molecular dynamics (MD) versions of the algorithms are given. We then present five new generalized-ensemble algorithms which are extensions of the above methods.

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