Next: 14.2.3 Concurrent Update Procedure Up: 14.2 Melting in Two Previous: 14.2.1 Problem Description

## 14.2.2 Solution Method

We chose to use a Monte Carlo  method to simulate the interaction of the particles. The method consists of generating a sequence of configurations in such a way that the probability of being in configuration r, denoted as , is

where is the potential energy of configuration r and . A configuration refers collectively to the positions of all the particles in the simulation. The update procedure that we describe in the next section generates such a sequence of configurations by repeatedly updating the position of each of the particles in the system. Averaging the values of such quantities as potential energy and pressure over the configurations gives their expected values in such a system.

The process of moving from one configuration to another is known as a Monte Carlo update. The update procedure we used involves three steps that allow the position of one particle to change [Metropolis:53a].  The first step is to choose a new position for the particle with uniform probability in a region about its current position. Next, the update procedure calculates the difference in potential energy between the current configuration and the new one. Finally, the new position for the particle is either accepted or rejected based on the difference in potential energy and rules that generate configurations with the required probability distribution.

The two-dimensional system being studied has several characteristics that must be considered in designing an efficient algorithm for implementing the Monte Carlo simulation. One of the most important characteristics is that the interaction potential has a short range. The Lennard-Jones potential approaches zero quickly enough that the effect of distant particles can be safely ignored. We made the short-range nature of the potential precise by truncating it at a distance of . We must use the short-range nature of the potential to organize the particle positions so that the update procedure can quickly locate the particles whose potential energy changes during an update.

Another feature of the system that complicates the simulation is that the particles are not confined to a grid that would structure the data. Such irregular data make simultaneously updating multiple particles more difficult. One result of the irregular data is that the computational loads of the processors are unbalanced in a distributed-memory, MIMD processor. In order to minimize the effect of the load imbalance, the nodes of the concurrent processor must run asynchronously.   We developed an interrupt-driven  communication system [Johnson:85a] that allows the nodes to implement an asynchronous update procedure. This ``rdsort'' system is described in Section 5.2.5 and has similarities to the current active message ideas [Eiken:92a]. The interrupt-driven communication system allows a node to send requests for contributions to the change in potential energy that moving its particle would cause. Nodes receiving such requests compute the contribution of their particles and send a response reporting their result. This operating system was sophisticated but only used for this application. However, as described in Chapter 5, these ideas formed the basis of both MOOS II and the evolution of CrOS III into Express. Interestingly, Mark Johnson designed the loosely synchronous CrOS III message-passing system as part of his service for CP even though his particular application was one of the few that could not benefit from it.

Next: 14.2.3 Concurrent Update Procedure Up: 14.2 Melting in Two Previous: 14.2.1 Problem Description

Guy Robinson
Wed Mar 1 10:19:35 EST 1995