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J Phys Chem B. 2005 Apr 14;109(14):6902-15.

Biased sampling of nonequilibrium trajectories: can fast switching simulations outperform conventional free energy calculation methods?

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Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


We have investigated the maximum computational efficiency of reversible work calculations that change control parameters in a finite amount of time. Because relevant nonequilibrium averages are slow to converge, a bias on the sampling of trajectories can be beneficial. Such a bias, however, can also be employed in conventional methods for computing reversible work, such as thermodynamic integration or umbrella sampling. We present numerical results for a simple one-dimensional model and for a Widom insertion in a soft sphere liquid, indicating that, with an appropriately chosen bias, conventional methods are in fact more efficient. We describe an analogy between nonequilibrium dynamics and mappings between equilibrium ensembles, which suggests that the practical inferiority of fast switching is quite general. Finally, we discuss the relevance of adiabatic invariants in slowly driven Hamiltonian systems for the application of Jarzynski's theorem.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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