Preserving correlations between trajectories for efficient path sampling

Todd R. Gingrich, Phillip L. Geissler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Importance sampling of trajectories has proved a uniquely successful strategy for exploring rare dynamical behaviors of complex systems in an unbiased way. Carrying out this sampling, however, requires an ability to propose changes to dynamical pathways that are substantial, yet sufficiently modest to obtain reasonable acceptance rates. Satisfying this requirement becomes very challenging in the case of long trajectories, due to the characteristic divergences of chaotic dynamics. Here, we examine schemes for addressing this problem, which engineer correlation between a trial trajectory and its reference path, for instance using artificial forces. Our analysis is facilitated by a modern perspective on Markov chain Monte Carlo sampling, inspired by non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, which clarifies the types of sampling strategies that can scale to long trajectories. Viewed in this light, the most promising such strategy guides a trial trajectory by manipulating the sequence of random numbers that advance its stochastic time evolution, as done in a handful of existing methods. In cases where this "noise guidance" synchronizes trajectories effectively, as the Glauber dynamics of a two-dimensional Ising model, we show that efficient path sampling can be achieved for even very long trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number234104
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Jun 21 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Preserving correlations between trajectories for efficient path sampling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this