E-CAM Case Study: The development of the GC-AdResS scheme:

from smooth coupling

to a direct interface (abrupt)

Dr. Christian Krekeler, Freie Universität Berlin


GC-AdResS is a technique  that speeds up computations without loss of accuracy for key system properties by dividing the simulation box into two or more regions having different levels of resolution, for instance a high resolution region where the molecules of the system are treated at an atomistic level of detail, and other regions where molecules are treated at a coarse grained level, and transition regions where a weighted average of the two resolutions is used. The goal of the E-CAM GC-AdResS pilot project was to eliminate  the need of a transition region so as to significantly improve  performance, and to allow much greater flexibility. For example, the  low resolution region can be a particle reservoir (ranging in detail from coarse grained  to ideal gas particles) and a high resolution atomistic region with no transition region, as was needed hitherto.  The only requirement is that the two regions can exchange particles, and that a corresponding “thermodynamic” force is computed self-consistently, which it turns out is very simple to implement.

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A Conversation on The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Opportunities & Trends for Particle Based Simulation



In the margins of a recent multiscale simulation workshop a discussion began between a prominent  pharmaceutical industry scientist, and E-CAM and EMMC regarding the unfolding Fourth Industrial Revolution and the role of particle based simulation and statistical methods there.  The impact of simulation  is predicted to become very significant.  This discussion is intended to create awareness of the general public, of how industry 4.0 is initiating in companies, and  how academic research will support that transformation.

Authors: Prof. Pietro Asinari (EMMC and Politecnico di Torino, denoted below as PA) and Dr. Donal MacKernan (E-CAM and University College Dublin, denoted below as  DM) , and a prominent  pharmaceutical industry scientist (name withheld at author’s request as  the view expressed is a personal one, denoted below as  IS)

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Multi-GPU version of DL_MESO_DPD

This module implements the first version of the DL_MESO_DPD Mesoscale Simulation Package, with multiple NVidia Graphical Processing Units (GPUs).

In this module the main framework of a multi-GPU version of the DL_MESO_DPD code has been developed. The exchange of data between GPUs overlaps with the computation of the forces for the internal cells of each partition (a domain decomposition approach based on the MPI parallel version of DL_MESO_DPD has been followed). The current implementation is a proof of concept and relies on slow transfers of data from the GPU to the host and vice-versa. Faster implementations will be explored in future modules.

Future plans include benchmarking of the code with different data transfer implementations other than the current (trivial) GPU-host-GPU transfer mechanism. These are: of Peer To Peer communication within a node, CUDA-aware MPI, and CUDA-aware MPI with Direct Remote Memory Access (DRMA).

Practical application and exploitation of the code

Dissipative Particle Dynamics (DPD) is routinely used in an industrial context to find out the static and dynamic behaviour of soft-matter systems. Examples include colloidal dispersions, emulsions and other amphiphilic systems, polymer solutions, etc. Such materials are being produced or processed in industries like cosmetics, food, pharmaceutics, biomedicine, etc. Porting the method to GPUs is thus inherently useful in order to provide cheaper calculations.

See more information in the industry success story recently reported by E-CAM.

Software documentation and link to the source code can be found in our E-CAM software Library here.



We would like to draw your attention to a school cum workshop on


that will run on Dec 9-12, 2019, at the Monash University Prato Center,
see http://monash.it/, in Tuscany. The event is an E-CAM state-of-the-art
workshop, and its aim is to focus on computer
simulation methods for multiphase systems and their dynamics, and
their strengths and shortcomings. This is a topic that is relevant in
physics, mathematics, chemistry, and engineering, and we are trying to
bring these communities together for a fruitful exchange. At the same
time, a set of advanced lectures at the school is intended to provide
a solid foundation of background knowledge. For more information (in
particular, the list of Invited Speakers), see the

Main web site for the event

Registration is now open. Regular participants need to pay a fee of
500 Australian Dollars (roughly 300 Euros) for meals etc.; however the
first 25 students (with proven status) who register may attend for free.

DEADLINE for registration and abstract submission is September 22.

Please do not hesitate to contact the organisers (contact information on the main website for the event) if you feel you need more information beyond what is provided on the web.

The Organisers

Burkhard Duenweg, Mainz
Ravi Prakash Jagadeeshan, Melbourne
Ignacio Pagonabarraga, Lausanne


Extension of the ParaDiS code to include precipitate interactions, and code optimisation to run on HPC environment

Here present two featured software modules of the month:

  1. ParaDiS with precipitates
  2. ParaDiS with precipitates optimized to HPC environment

that provide extensions to the ParaDIS Discrete dislocation dynamics (DDD) code (LLNL, http://paradis.stanford.edu/) where dislocation/precipitate interactions are included. Module 2 was built to run the code on an HPC environment, by optimizing the original code for the Cray XC40 cluster at CSC in Finland. Software was developed by E-CAM partners at CSC and Aalto University (Finland).

Practical application and exploitation of the codes

The ParaDiS code is a free large scale dislocation dynamics (DD) simulation code to study the fundamental mechanisms of plasticity. However, DDD simulations don’t always take into account scenarios of impurities interacting with the dislocations and their motion. The consequences of the impurities are multiple: the yield stress is changed, and in general the plastic deformation process is greatly affected. Simulating these by DDD allows to look at a large number of issues from materials design to controlling the yield stress and may be done in a multiscale manner by computing the dislocation-precipitate interactions from microscopic simulations or by coarse-graining the DDD results for the stress-strain curves on the mesoscopic scale to more macroscopic Finite Element Method.

Modules 1 and 2 provide therefore an extension of the ParaDIS code by including dislocation/precipitate interactions. The possibility to run the code on HPC environments is also provided.

Software documentation and link to the source code can be found in our E-CAM software Library here.


Upcoming event: Extended Software Development Workshop in Mesoscopic simulation models and HPC

E-CAM partners at Aalto University (CECAM Finish Node) in collaboration with the HPC training experts from the CSC Supercomputing Centre, are organizing a joint Extended Software Development Workshop from 15-19 October 2019 , aimed at people interested in particle based methods, such as the Discrete Element and Lattice Boltzmann Methods, and on their massive parallelization using GPU architectures. The workshop will mix three different ingredients: (1) workshop on state-of-the-art challenges in computational science and software, (2) CSC -run school, and (3) coding sessions with the aid of CSC facilities and expertise.

How to Apply

Follow the instruction at the CECAM website for the event: https://www.cecam.org/workshop1752/


  • Mikko Alava
    Aalto University, Finland
  • Brian Tighe
    TU Delft, The Netherlands
  • Jan Astrom
    CSC It center for science, Finland
  • Antti Puisto
    Aalto University, Finland


CECAM-FI Node, Aalto University, Finland


October 15 – 19, 2019


Mesoscale simulation of billion atom complex systems using thousands of GPGPU’s, an industry success story

Dr. Jony Castagna, Science and Technology Facilities Council, United Kingdom


Jony Castagna recounts his transition from industry scientist to research software developer at the STFC, his E-CAM rewrite of  DL_MESO allowing the simulation of billion atom systems on thousands of GPGPUs, and his latest role as Nvidia ambassador focused on machine learning.

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Abrupt GC-AdResS: A new and more general implementation of the Grand Canonical Adaptive Resolution Scheme (GC-AdResS)

The Grand Canonical Adaptive resolution scheme (GC-AdResS) gives a methodological description to partition a simulation box into different regions with different degrees of accuracy. For more details on the theory see Refs. [1,2,3].

In the context of an E-CAM pilot project focused on the development of the GC-AdResS scheme, an updated version of GC-AdResS was built and implemented in GROMACS, as reported in https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/1.5031206 (open access version: https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.09870). The main goal of the project is to develop a library or recipe with which GC-AdResS can be implemented in any Classical MD Code.

The current implementation of GC- AdResS in GROMACS has several performance problems. We know that the main performance loss of AdResS simulations in GROMACS is in the neighbouring list search and the generic serial force calculation linking the atomistic (AT) and coarse grained (CG) forces together via a smooth weighting function. Thus, to remove the bottleneck with respect to performance and a hindrance regarding the easy/general implementation into other codes and eliminate the non optimized force calculation, we had to change the neighbourlist search. This lead to a considerable speed up of the code. Furthermore it decouples the method directly from the core of any MD code, which does not hinder the performance and makes the scheme hardware independent[4].

This module presents a very straight forward way to implement a new partitioning scheme in GROMACS . And this solves two problems which affect the performance, the neighborlist search and the generic force kernel.

Information about module purpose, background information, software installation, testing and a link to the source code, can be found in our E-CAM software Library here.

E-CAM Deliverables D4.3[5] and D4.4[6] present more modules developed in the context of this pilot project.


[1] L. Delle Site and M. Praprotnik, “Molecular Systems with Open Boundaries: Theory and Simulation,” Phys. Rep., vol. 693, pp. 1–56, 2017

[2] H.Wang, C. Schütte, and L.Delle Site, “Adaptive Resolution Simulation (AdResS): A Smooth Thermodynamic and Structural Transition fromAtomistic to Coarse Grained Resolution and Vice Versa in a Grand Canonical Fashion,” J. Chem. Theory Comput., vol. 8, pp. 2878–2887, 2012

[3] H. Wang, C. Hartmann, C. Schütte, and L. Delle Site, “Grand-Canonical-Like Molecular-Dynamics Simulations by Using an Adaptive-Resolution Technique,” Phys. Rev. X, vol. 3, p. 011018, 2013

[4] C. Krekeler, A. Agarwal, C. Junghans, M. Prapotnik and L. Delle Site, “Adaptive resolution molecular dynamics technique: Down to the essential”, J. Chem. Phys. 149, 024104

[5] B. Duenweg, J. Castagna, S. Chiacchera, H. Kobayashi, and C. Krekeler, “D4.3: Meso– and multi–scale modelling E-CAM modules II”, March 2018 . [Online]. Available: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1210075

[6] B. Duenweg, J. Castagna, S. Chiacchera, and C. Krekeler, “D4.4: Meso– and multi–scale modelling E-CAM modules III”, Jan 2019 . [Online]. Available: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2555012


E-CAM related work labeled as “Excellent Science” by the EC Innovation Radar Initiative

The Innovation Radar aims to identify high-potential innovations and innovators. It is an important source of actionable intelligence on innovations emerging from research and innovation projects funded through European Union programmes.

E-CAM is associated to the following Innovations (Innovation topic: excellence science):

    1. Improved Simulation Software Packages for Molecular Dynamics (see link)
    2. Improved software modules for Meso– and multi–scale modelling (see link)

Related to the work of our E-CAM funded Postdoctoral researchers supervised by scientists in the team, working on:

  • Development of the OpenPathSampling package to study rare events  (Universiteit van Amsterdam). Link1
  • Implementation of GPU version of DL_MESO_DPD (Hartree Centre (STFC)). Link
  • Development of polarizable mesoscale model for DL_MESO_DPD (Hartree Centre (STFC)). Link
  • Development of the GC-AdResS scheme (Freie Universitaet Berlin). Link

  • Implementation of hierarchical strategy on ESPResSO++ (Max Plank Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz). Link

New E-CAM publication is out: “Molecular Dynamics of Open Systems: Construction of a Mean‐Field Particle Reservoir”

New publication from E-CAM partners working at the Institute of Mathematics of the Freie Universität Berlin:

Molecular Dynamics of Open Systems: Construction of a Mean‐Field Particle Reservoir

Authors: Luigi Delle Site, Christian Krekeler, John Whittaker, Animesh Agarwal, Rupert Klein, and Felix Höfling

Adv. Theory Simul. 2019, 1900014, DOI: 10.1002/adts.201900014 (Open access)


A procedure for the construction of a particle and energy reservoir for the simulation of open molecular systems is presented. The reservoir is made of non‐interacting particles (tracers), embedded in a mean‐field. The tracer molecules acquire atomistic resolution upon entering the atomistic region, while atomistic molecules become tracers after crossing the atomistic boundary.


The simulation of open molecular systems requires explicit or implicit reservoirs of energy and particles. Whereas full atomistic resolution is desired in the region of interest, there is some freedom in the implementation of the reservoirs. Here, a combined, explicit reservoir is constructed by interfacing the atomistic region with regions of point-like, non-interacting particles (tracers) embedded in a thermodynamic mean field. The tracer molecules acquire atomistic resolution upon entering the atomistic region and equilibrate with this environment, while atomistic molecules become tracers governed by an effective mean-field potential after crossing the atomistic boundary. The approach is extensively tested on thermodynamic, structural, and dynamic properties of liquid water. Conceptual and numerical advantages of the procedure as well as new perspectives are highlighted and discussed.