Efficient molecular dynamics simulations with many-body potentials on graphics processing units

ZY Fan and W Chen and V Vierimaa and A Harju, COMPUTER PHYSICS COMMUNICATIONS, 218, 10-16 (2017).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cpc.2017.05.003

Graphics processing units have been extensively used to accelerate classical molecular dynamics simulations. However, there is much less progress on the acceleration of force evaluations for many-body potentials compared to pairwise ones. In the conventional force evaluation algorithm for many-body potentials, the force, virial stress, and heat current for a given atom are accumulated within different loops, which could result in write conflict between different threads in a CUDA kernel. In this work, we provide a new force evaluation algorithm, which is based on an explicit pairwise force expression for many-body potentials derived recently (Fan et al., 2015). In our algorithm, the force, virial stress, and heat current for a given atom can be accumulated within a single thread and is free of write conflicts. We discuss the formulations and algorithms and evaluate their performance. A new open-source code, GPUMD, is developed based on the proposed formulations. For the Tersoff many-body potential, the double precision performance of GPUMD using a Tesla K40 card is equivalent to that of the LAMMPS (Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator) molecular dynamics code running with about 100 CPU cores (Intel Xeon CPU X5670 @ 2.93 GHz). (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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