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LAMMPS - a flexible simulation tool for particle-based materials modeling at the atomic, meso, and continuum scales

Computer Physics Communications

Thompson, Aidan P.; Aktulga, H.M.; Berger, Richard; Bolintineanu, Dan S.; Brown, W.M.; Crozier, Paul C.; in 't Veld, Pieter J.; Kohlmeyer, Axel; Moore, Stan G.; Nguyen, Trung D.; Shan, Ray; Stevens, Mark J.; Tranchida, Julien; Trott, Christian R.; Plimpton, Steven J.

Since the classical molecular dynamics simulator LAMMPS was released as an open source code in 2004, it has become a widely-used tool for particle-based modeling of materials at length scales ranging from atomic to mesoscale to continuum. Reasons for its popularity are that it provides a wide variety of particle interaction models for different materials, that it runs on any platform from a single CPU core to the largest supercomputers with accelerators, and that it gives users control over simulation details, either via the input script or by adding code for new interatomic potentials, constraints, diagnostics, or other features needed for their models. As a result, hundreds of people have contributed new capabilities to LAMMPS and it has grown from fifty thousand lines of code in 2004 to a million lines today. In this paper several of the fundamental algorithms used in LAMMPS are described along with the design strategies which have made it flexible for both users and developers. We also highlight some capabilities recently added to the code which were enabled by this flexibility, including dynamic load balancing, on-the-fly visualization, magnetic spin dynamics models, and quantum-accuracy machine learning interatomic potentials. Program Summary: Program Title: Large-scale Atomic/Molecular Massively Parallel Simulator (LAMMPS) CPC Library link to program files: Developer's repository link: Licensing provisions: GPLv2 Programming language: C++, Python, C, Fortran Supplementary material: Nature of problem: Many science applications in physics, chemistry, materials science, and related fields require parallel, scalable, and efficient generation of long, stable classical particle dynamics trajectories. Within this common problem definition, there lies a great diversity of use cases, distinguished by different particle interaction models, external constraints, as well as timescales and lengthscales ranging from atomic to mesoscale to macroscopic. Solution method: The LAMMPS code uses parallel spatial decomposition, distributed neighbor lists, and parallel FFTs for long-range Coulombic interactions [1]. The time integration algorithm is based on the Størmer-Verlet symplectic integrator [2], which provides better stability than higher-order non-symplectic methods. In addition, LAMMPS supports a wide range of interatomic potentials, constraints, diagnostics, software interfaces, and pre- and post-processing features. Additional comments including restrictions and unusual features: This paper serves as the definitive reference for the LAMMPS code. References: [1] S. Plimpton, Fast parallel algorithms for short-range molecular dynamics. J. Comp. Phys. 117 (1995) 1–19. [2] L. Verlet, Computer experiments on classical fluids: I. Thermodynamical properties of Lennard–Jones molecules, Phys. Rev. 159 (1967) 98–103.

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