Stochastic Dynamics#

Stochastic or velocity Langevin dynamics adds a friction and a noise term to Newton’s equations of motion, as

(114)#\[m_i {{\mbox{d}}^2 \mathbf{r}_i \over {\mbox{d}}t^2} = - m_i \gamma_i {{\mbox{d}}\mathbf{r}_i \over {\mbox{d}}t} + \mathbf{F}_i(\mathbf{r}) + {\stackrel{\circ}{\mathbf{r}}}_i,\]

where \(\gamma_i\) is the friction constant \([1/\mbox{ps}]\) and \({\stackrel{\circ}{\mathbf{r}}}_i\!\!(t)\) is a noise process with \(\langle {\stackrel{\circ}{r}}_i\!\!(t) {\stackrel{\circ}{r}}_j\!\!(t+s) \rangle = 2 m_i \gamma_i k_B T \delta(s) \delta_{ij}\). When \(1/\gamma_i\) is large compared to the time scales present in the system, one could see stochastic dynamics as molecular dynamics with stochastic temperature-coupling. But any processes that take longer than \(1/\gamma_i\), e.g. hydrodynamics, will be dampened. Since each degree of freedom is coupled independently to a heat bath, equilibration of fast modes occurs rapidly. For simulating a system in vacuum there is the additional advantage that there is no accumulation of errors for the overall translational and rotational degrees of freedom. When \(1/\gamma_i\) is small compared to the time scales present in the system, the dynamics will be completely different from MD, but the sampling is still correct.

In GROMACS there is one simple and efficient implementation. Its accuracy is equivalent to the normal MD leap-frog and Velocity Verlet integrator. It is nearly identical to the common way of discretizing the Langevin equation, but the friction and velocity term are applied in an impulse fashion 51. It can be described as:

(115)#\[\begin{split}\begin{aligned} \mathbf{v}' &~=~& \mathbf{v}(t-{{\frac{1}{2}}{{\Delta t}}}) + \frac{1}{m}\mathbf{F}(t){{\Delta t}}\\ \Delta\mathbf{v} &~=~& -\alpha \, \mathbf{v}'(t+{{\frac{1}{2}}{{\Delta t}}}) + \sqrt{\frac{k_B T}{m} \alpha (2 - \alpha)} \, {\mathbf{r}^G}_i \\ \mathbf{r}(t+{{\Delta t}}) &~=~& \mathbf{r}(t)+\left(\mathbf{v}' +\frac{1}{2}\Delta \mathbf{v}\right){{\Delta t}} \end{aligned}\end{split}\]
(116)#\[\begin{split}\begin{aligned} \mathbf{v}(t+{{\frac{1}{2}}{{\Delta t}}}) &~=~& \mathbf{v}' + \Delta \mathbf{v} \\ \alpha &~=~& 1 - e^{-\gamma {{\Delta t}}}\end{aligned}\end{split}\]

where \({\mathbf{r}^G}_i\) is Gaussian distributed noise with \(\mu = 0\), \(\sigma = 1\). The velocity is first updated a full time step without friction and noise to get \(\mathbf{v}'\), identical to the normal update in leap-frog. The friction and noise are then applied as an impulse at step \(t+{{\Delta t}}\). The advantage of this scheme is that the velocity-dependent terms act at the full time step, which makes the correct integration of forces that depend on both coordinates and velocities, such as constraints and dissipative particle dynamics (DPD, not implented yet), straightforward. With constraints, the coordinate update (116) is split into a normal leap-frog update and a \(\Delta \mathbf{v}\). After both of these updates the constraints are applied to coordinates and velocities.

When using SD as a thermostat, an appropriate value for \(\gamma\) is e.g. 0.5 ps\(^{-1}\), since this results in a friction that is lower than the internal friction of water, while it still provides efficient thermostatting.