Quantum Monte Carlo Methods
qmc
factory element:
Parent elements
simulation, loop
type selector
method
attributetype options:
vmc
Variational Monte Carlo
linear
Wavefunction optimization with linear method
dmc
Diffusion Monte Carlo
rmc
Reptation Monte Carlo
shared attributes:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
method
text
listed above
invalid
QMC driver
move
text
pbyp, alle
pbyp
Method used to move electrons
trace
text
no
???
profiling
text
yes/no
no
Activate resume/pause control
checkpoint
integer
1, 0, n
0
Checkpoint frequency
record
integer
n
0
Save configuration ever n steps
target
text
???
completed
text
???
append
text
yes/no
no
???
Additional information:
move
: There are two ways to move electrons. The more used method is the particlebyparticle move. In this method, only one electron is moved for acceptance or rejection. The other method is the allelectron move; namely, all the electrons are moved once for testing acceptance or rejection.profiling
: Performance profiling tools by default profile complete application executions. This is largely unnecessary if the focus is a QMC section instead of any initialization and additional QMC sections for equilibrating walkers. Setting this flag toyes
for the QMC sections of interest and starting the tool with data collection paused from the beginning help reducing the profiling workflow and amount of collected data. Additional restriction may be imposed by profiling tools. For example, NVIDIA profilers can only be turned on and off once and thus only the first QMC section withprofiling="yes"
will be profiled. VTune instead allows pause and resume for unlimited times and thus multiple selected QMC sections can be profiled in a single run.checkpoint
: This enables and disables checkpointing and specifying the frequency of output. Possible values are:[1] No checkpoint files are written.
[0] Write the checkpoint files after the completion of the QMC section (default).
[n] Write the checkpoint files after every \(n\) blocks, and also at the end of the QMC section.
The particle configurations are written to a .config.h5
file.
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" checkpoint="0">
<parameter name="timestep"> 0.004 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="steps"> 400 </parameter>
</qmc>
The checkpoint flag instructs QMCPACK to output walker configurations. This also
works in VMC. This outputs an h5 file with the name projectid.runnumber.config.h5
.
Check that this file exists before attempting a restart.
To continue a run, specify the mcwalkerset
element before your VMC/DMC block:
<mcwalkerset fileroot="BH.s002" version="0 6" collected="yes"/>
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" checkpoint="0">
<parameter name="timestep"> 0.004 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="steps"> 400 </parameter>
</qmc>
BH
is the project id, and s002
is the calculation number to read in the walkers from the previous run.
In the project id section, make sure that the series number is different from any existing ones to avoid overwriting them.
Batched drivers
The batched drivers introduce a new concept, “crowd”, as a suborganization of walker population. A crowd is a subset of the walkers that are operated on as as single batch. Walkers within a crowd operate their computation in lockstep, which helps the GPU efficiency. Walkers in different crowds remain fully asynchronous unless operations involving the full population are needed. With this flexible batching capability the new drivers are capable of delivering maximal performance on given hardware. In the new driver design, all the batched API calls may fallback to an existing single walker implementation. Consequently, batched drivers allow mixing and matching CPUonly and GPUaccelerated features in a way that is not feasible with the legacy GPU implementation.
Transition from classic drivers
Available drivers in batched versions are vmc
, dmc
and linear
.
There are notable changes in the driver input section when moving from classic drivers to batched drivers:
walkers
is not supported in any batched driver inputs. Instead,walkers_per_rank
andtotal_walkers
specify the population at the start of a driver run.
crowds
can added in batched drivers to specify the number of crowds.If a classic driver input section contains
walkers
equals 1, the same effect can be achieved by omitting the specification ofwalkers_per_rank
,total_walkers
orcrowds
in batched drivers.The
walkers_per_rank
,total_walkers
orcrowds
parameters are optional. See driverspecific parameter additional information below about default values.When running on GPUs, tuning
walkers_per_rank
ortotal_walkers
is likely needed to maximize GPU throughput, just like tuningwalkers
in the classic drivers.Only particlebyparticle move is supported. No allparticle move support.
During development the new drivers had separate names (
vmc_batch
,dmc_batch
, andlinear_batch
). The use of separate names has been replaced by thedriver_version
parameter in theproject
section.
Variational Monte Carlo
vmc
driver
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
walkers
integer
\(> 0\)
dep.
Number of walkers per MPI task
blocks
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of blocks
steps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of steps per block
warmupsteps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of steps for warming up
substeps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of substeps per step
usedrift
text
yes,no
yes
Use the algorithm with drift
timestep
real
\(> 0\)
0.1
Time step for each electron move
samples
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of walker samples for DMC/optimization
stepsbetweensamples
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Period of sample accumulation
samplesperthread
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of samples per thread
blocks_between_recompute
integer
\(\geq 0\)
dep.
Wavefunction recompute frequency
spinMass
real
\(> 0\)
1.0
Effective mass for spin sampling
debug_checks
text
see additional info
dep.
Turn on/off additional recompute and checks
Additional information:
walkers
The number of walkers per MPI task. The initial default number of ixml{walkers} is one per OpenMP thread or per MPI task if threading is disabled. The number is rounded down to a multiple of the number of threads with a minimum of one per thread to ensure perfect load balancing. One walker per thread is created in the event fewerwalkers
than threads are requested.blocks
This parameter is universal for all the QMC methods. The MC processes are divided into a number ofblocks
, each containing a number of steps. At the end of each block, the statistics accumulated in the block are dumped into files, e.g.,scalar.dat
. Typically, each block should have a sufficient number of steps that the I/O at the end of each block is negligible compared with the computational cost. Each block should not take so long that monitoring its progress is difficult. There should be a sufficient number ofblocks
to perform statistical analysis.warmupsteps
warmupsteps
are used only for initial equilibration and do not count against the requested step or block count. Property measurements are not performed during warmup steps.steps
steps
are the number of energy and other property measurements to perform per block.substeps
For each substep, an attempt is made to move each of the electrons once only by either particlebyparticle or an allelectron move. Because the local energy is evaluated only at each full step and not each substep,substeps
are computationally cheaper and can be used to reduce the correlation between property measurements at a lower cost.usedrift
The VMC is implemented in two algorithms with or without drift. In the nodrift algorithm, the move of each electron is proposed with a Gaussian distribution. The standard deviation is chosen as the time step input. In the drift algorithm, electrons are moved by Langevin dynamics.timestep
The meaning of time step depends on whether or not the drift is used. In general, larger time steps reduce the time correlation but might also reduce the acceptance ratio, reducing overall statistical efficiency. For VMC, typically the acceptance ratio should be close to 50% for an efficient simulation.samples
Separate from conventional energy and other property measurements, samples refers to storing whole electron configurations in memory (“walker samples”) as would be needed by subsequent wavefunction optimization or DMC steps. A standard VMC run to measure the energy does not need samples to be set.\[\texttt{samples}= \frac{\texttt{blocks}\cdot\texttt{steps}\cdot\texttt{walkers}}{\texttt{stepsbetweensamples}}\cdot\texttt{number of MPI tasks}\]samplesperthread
This is an alternative way to set the target amount of samples and can be useful when preparing a stored population for a subsequent DMC calculation.\[\texttt{samplesperthread}= \frac{\texttt{blocks}\cdot\texttt{steps}}{\texttt{stepsbetweensamples}}\]stepsbetweensamples
Because samples generated by consecutive steps are correlated, havingstepsbetweensamples
larger than 1 can be used to reduces that correlation. In practice, using larger substeps is cheaper than usingstepsbetweensamples
to decorrelate samples.blocks_between_recompute
Recompute the accuracy critical determinant part of the wavefunction from scratch: =1 by default when using mixed precision. =10 by default when not using mixed precision. 0 can be set for no recomputation and higher performance, but numerical errors will accumulate over time. Recomputing introduces a performance penalty dependent on system size, but protects against the accumulation of numerical error, particularly in the inverses of the Slater determinants. These have a cubicscaling cost to recompute.spinMass
Optional parameter to allow the user to change the rate of spin sampling. If spin sampling is on usingspinor
== yes in the electron ParticleSet input, the spin mass determines the rate of spin sampling, resulting in an effective spin timestep \(\tau_s = \frac{\tau}{\mu_s}\). The algorithm is described in detail in [MZG+16] and [MBM16].debug_checks
valid values are ‘no’, ‘all’, ‘checkGL_after_moves’. If the build type is debug, the default value is ‘all’. Otherwise, the default value is ‘no’.
An example VMC section for a simple VMC run:
<qmc method="vmc" move="pbyp">
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="walkers"> 256 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 20 </parameter>
<parameter name="steps"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> yes </parameter>
</qmc>
Here we set 256 walkers
per MPI, have a brief initial equilibration of 100 steps
, and then have 20 blocks
of 100 steps
with 5 substeps
each.
The following is an example of VMC section storing configurations (walker samples) for optimization.
<qmc method="vmc" move="pbyp" gpu="yes">
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="walkers"> 256 </parameter>
<parameter name="samples"> 2867200 </parameter>
<parameter name="stepsbetweensamples"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 70 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> no </parameter>
</qmc>
Batched vmc
driver (experimental)
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
total_walkers
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Total number of walkers over all MPI ranks
walkers_per_rank
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Number of walkers per MPI rank
crowds
integer
\(> 0\)
dep.
Number of desynchronized walker crowds
blocks
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of blocks
steps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
dep.
Number of steps per block
warmupsteps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of steps for warming up
substeps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of substeps per step
usedrift
text
yes,no
yes
Use the algorithm with drift
timestep
real
\(> 0\)
0.1
Time step for each electron move
samples
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Total number of walker samples for this VMC run
blocks_between_recompute
integer
\(\geq 0\)
dep.
Wavefunction recompute frequency
crowd_serialize_walkers
integer
yes, no
no
Force use of single walker APIs (for testing)
debug_checks
text
see additional info
dep.
Turn on/off additional recompute and checks
spin_mass
real
\(\geq 0\)
1.0
Effective mass for spin sampling
measure_imbalance
text
yes,no
no
Measure load imbalance at the end of each block
Additional information:
crowds
The number of crowds that the walkers are subdivided into on each MPI rank. If not provided, it is set equal to the number of OpenMP threads.walkers_per_rank
The number of walkers per MPI rank. This number does not have to be a multiple of the number of OpenMP threads. However, to avoid any idle resources, it is recommended to be at least the number of OpenMP threads for pure CPU runs. For GPU runs, a scan of this parameter is necessary to reach reasonable single rank efficiency and also get a balanced time to solution. For highest throughput on GPUs, expect to use hundreds of walkers_per_rank, or the largest number that will fit in GPU memory.If neither
total_walkers
norwalkers_per_rank
is provided and there are walker configurations carried over from previous QMC sections or a restart, the population carried over will be used without modification.If neither
total_walkers
norwalkers_per_rank
is provided and there are no walker configurations carried over,walkers_per_rank
is set equal tocrowds
.total_walkers
Total number of walkers summed over all MPI ranks, or equivalently the total number of walkers in the QMC calculation. If not provided, it is computed aswalkers_per_rank
times the number of MPI ranks. If bothtotal_walkers
andwalkers_per_rank
are provided, which is not recommended,total_walkers
must be consistently set equal towalkers_per_rank
times the number MPI ranks.blocks
This parameter is universal for all the QMC methods. The MC processes are divided into a number ofblocks
, each containing an equal number of steps. At the end of each block, the statistics accumulated in the block are dumped into files, e.g.,scalar.dat
. Typically, blocks should have a sufficient number of steps that the I/O at the end of each block is negligible compared with the computational cost. Each block should not take so long that monitoring its progress is difficult. There should be a sufficient number ofblocks
to perform statistical analysis.warmupsteps
warmupsteps
are used only for initial equilibration and do not count against the requested step or block count. Property measurements are not performed during warmup steps.steps
steps
are the number of energy and other property measurements to perform per block. Ifsamples
is provided in the input file but notsteps
, its value is chosen based onsamples
see below. If neithersamples
norsteps
is provided,steps
is set to one.substeps
For each substep, an attempt is made to move each of the electrons once only by either particlebyparticle or an allelectron move. Because the local energy is evaluated only at each full step and not each substep,substeps
are computationally cheaper and can be used for decorrelation at a low computational cost.usedrift
The VMC is implemented in two algorithms with or without drift. In the nodrift algorithm, the move of each electron is proposed with a Gaussian distribution. The standard deviation is chosen as the time step input. In the drift algorithm, electrons are moved by Langevin dynamics.timestep
The meaning of time step depends on whether or not the drift is used. In general, larger time steps reduce the time correlation but might also reduce the acceptance ratio, reducing overall statistical efficiency. For VMC, typically the acceptance ratio should be close to 50% for an efficient simulation.samples
The intended total number of samples that will be made in the QMC section. This is primarily intended for VMC wavefunction optimization. The implementation always obtains at least the requested number but may obtain slightly more samples than requested so as to map efficiently on to the MPI tasks and OpenMP threads. Ifsamples
andsteps
are both provided,samples
must be equal or smaller than the product oftotal_walkers
,steps
andblocks
. Ifsamples
is provided butsteps
is not,steps
is automatically set to be the smallest integer that makessamples
equal or smaller than the product oftotal_walkers
,steps
andblocks
.blocks_between_recompute
Recompute the accuracy critical determinant part of the wavefunction from scratch: =1 by default when using mixed precision. =10 by default when not using mixed precision. 0 can be set for no recomputation and higher performance, but numerical errors will accumulate over time. Recomputing the determinants introduces a performance penalty dependent on system size, but protects against the accumulation of numerical error, particularly in the inverses of the Slater determinants. These have a cubicscaling cost to recompute.debug_checks
valid values are ‘no’, ‘all’, ‘checkGL_after_load’, ‘checkGL_after_moves’, ‘checkGL_after_tmove’. If the build type is debug, the default value is ‘all’. Otherwise, the default value is ‘no’.spin_mass
Optional parameter to allow the user to change the rate of spin sampling. If spin sampling is on usingspinor
== yes in the electron ParticleSet input, the spin mass determines the rate of spin sampling, resulting in an effective spin timestep \(\tau_s = \frac{\tau}{\mu_s}\). The algorithm is described in detail in [MZG+16] and [MBM16].
An example VMC section for a simple batched vmc
run:
<qmc method="vmc" move="pbyp">
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="walkers_per_rank"> 256 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 20 </parameter>
<parameter name="steps"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> yes </parameter>
</qmc>
Here we set 256 walkers per MPI rank, have a brief initial equilibration of 100 steps
, and then have 20 blocks
of 100 steps
with 5 substeps
each.
Wavefunction optimization
Optimizing wavefunction is critical in all kinds of realspace QMC calculations because it significantly improves both the accuracy and efficiency of computation. However, it is very difficult to directly adopt deterministic minimization approaches because of the stochastic nature of evaluating quantities with MC. Thanks to the algorithmic breakthrough during the first decade of this century and the tremendous computer power available, it is now feasible to optimize tens of thousands of parameters in a wavefunction for a solid or molecule. QMCPACK has multiple optimizers implemented based on the stateoftheart linear method. We are continually improving our optimizers for robustness and friendliness and are trying to provide a single solution. Because of the large variation of wavefunction types carrying distinct characteristics, using several optimizers might be needed in some cases. We strongly suggested reading recommendations from the experts who maintain these optimizers.
A typical optimization block looks like the following. It starts with method=”linear” and contains three blocks of parameters.
<loop max="10">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" gpu="yes">
<! Specify the VMC options >
<parameter name="walkers"> 256 </parameter>
<parameter name="samples"> 2867200 </parameter>
<parameter name="stepsbetweensamples"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 70 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> no </parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
...
<! Specify the correlated sampling options and define the cost function >
<parameter name="minwalkers"> 0.3 </parameter>
<cost name="energy"> 0.95 </cost>
<cost name="unreweightedvariance"> 0.00 </cost>
<cost name="reweightedvariance"> 0.05 </cost>
...
<! Specify the optimizer options >
<parameter name="MinMethod"> OneShiftOnly </parameter>
...
</qmc>
</loop>
 Loop is helpful to repeatedly execute identical optimization blocks.
 The first part is highly identical to a regular VMC block.
 The second part is to specify the correlated sampling options and
define the cost function.
 The last part is used to specify the options of different optimizers,
which can be very distinct from one to another.
VMC run for the optimization
The VMC calculation for the wavefunction optimization has a strict requirement
that samples
or samplesperthread
must be specified because of the optimizer needs for the stored samples
.
The input parameters of this part are identical to the VMC method.
Recommendations:
Run the inclusive VMC calculation correctly and efficiently because this takes a significant amount of time during optimization. For example, make sure the derived
steps
per block is 1 and use largersubsteps
to control the correlation betweensamples
.A reasonable starting wavefunction is necessary. A lot of optimization fails because of a bad wavefunction starting point. The sign of a bad initial wavefunction includes but is not limited to a very long equilibration time, low acceptance ratio, and huge variance. The first thing to do after a failed optimization is to check the information provided by the VMC calculation via
*.scalar.dat files
.
Variational parameter selection
The predominant way of selecting variational parameters is via <wavefunction>
input.
<coefficients>
entries support optimize="yes"/"no"
to enable/disable variational parameters in the wavefunction optimization.
The secondary way of selecting variational parameters is via variational_subset
parameter in the <qmc>
driver input.
It allows controlling optimization granularity at each optimization step.
If variational_subset
is not provided or empty, all the variational parameters are selected.
If variational parameters are set as not optimizable in the predominant way, the secondary way won’t be able to set them optimizable even they are selected.
The following example shows optimizing subsets of parameters in stages in a single QMCPACK run.
<qmc method="linear">
...
<parameter name="variational_subset"> uu ud </parameter>
</qmc>
<qmc method="linear">
...
<parameter name="variational_subset"> uu ud eH </parameter>
</qmc>
<qmc method="linear">
...
<parameter name="variational_subset"> uu ud eH CI </parameter>
</qmc>
Variational parameter storage
After each optimization step the new wavefunction is stored in a file with an .opt.xml
suffix.
This new wavefunction includes the updated variational parameters.
Writing a new XML wavefunction becomes more complicated if parameters are stored elsewhere (e.g. multideterminant coefficients in an HDF file) and has problems scaling with the number of parameters.
To address these issues the variational parameters are now written to an HDF file.
The new “VP file” has the suffix .vp.h5
and is written in conjunction with the .opt.xml
file.
The wavefunction file connects to the VP file with a tag (override_variational_parameters
) in the .opt.xml
file that points to the .vp.h5
file.
Should it be necessary to recover the previous behavior without the VP file, this tag can be be turned off with an output_vp_override
parameter in the optimizer input block:
<parameter name="output_vp_override">no</parameter>
Both schemes for storing variational parameters coexist. Two important points about the VP file:
The values of the variational parameters in the VP file take precedence over the values in the XML wavefunction.
When copying an optimized wavefunction, the
.vp.h5
file needs to be copied as well.
For users that want to inspect or modify the VP file,
the He_param test (in tests/molecules/He_param
) contains a python script (convert_vp_format.py
) to read and write the VP file. The script converts to and from a simple text representation of the parameters.
Optimizers
QMCPACK implements a number of different optimizers each with different priorities for accuracy, convergence, memory usage, and stability. The optimizers can be switched among “OneShiftOnly” (default), “adaptive,” “descent,” “hybrid,” and “quartic” (old) using the following line in the optimization block:
<parameter name="MinMethod"> THE METHOD YOU LIKE </parameter>
OneShiftOnly Optimizer
The OneShiftOnly optimizer targets a fast optimization by moving parameters more aggressively. It works with OpenMP and GPU and can be considered for large systems.
This method relies on the effective weight of correlated sampling rather than the cost function value to justify a new set of parameters.
If the effective weight is larger than minwalkers
, the new set is taken whether or not the cost function value decreases.
If a proposed set is rejected, the standard output prints the measured ratio of effective samples to the total number of samples
and adjustment on minwalkers
can be made if needed.
linear
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
shift_i
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Direct stabilizer added to the Hamiltonian matrix
shift_s
real
\(> 0\)
1.00
Initial stabilizer based on the overlap matrix
Additional information:
shift_i
This is the direct term added to the diagonal of the Hamiltonian matrix. It provides more stable but slower optimization with a large value.shift_s
This is the initial value of the stabilizer based on the overlap matrix added to the Hamiltonian matrix. It provides more stable but slower optimization with a large value. The used value is autoadjusted by the optimizer.
Recommendations:
Default
shift_i
,shift_s
should be fine.For hard cases, increasing
shift_i
(by a factor of 5 or 10) can significantly stabilize the optimization by reducing the pace towards the optimal parameter set.If the VMC energy of the last optimization iterations grows significantly, increase
minwalkers
closer to 1 and make the optimization stable.If the first iterations of optimization are rejected on a reasonable initial wavefunction, lower the
minwalkers
value based on the measured value printed in the standard output to accept the move.
We recommended using this optimizer in two sections with a very small minwalkers
in the first and a large value in the second, such as the following.
In the very beginning, parameters are far away from optimal values and large changes are proposed by the optimizer.
Having a small minwalkers
makes it much easier to accept these changes.
When the energy gradually converges, we can have a large minwalkers
to avoid risky parameter sets.
<loop max="6">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" gpu="yes">
<! Specify the VMC options >
<parameter name="walkers"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="samples"> 10000 </parameter>
<parameter name="stepsbetweensamples"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 25 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> no </parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<! Specify the optimizer options >
<parameter name="MinMethod"> OneShiftOnly </parameter>
<parameter name="minwalkers"> 1e4 </parameter>
</qmc>
</loop>
<loop max="12">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" gpu="yes">
<! Specify the VMC options >
<parameter name="walkers"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="samples"> 20000 </parameter>
<parameter name="stepsbetweensamples"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 2 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 50 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> no </parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<! Specify the optimizer options >
<parameter name="MinMethod"> OneShiftOnly </parameter>
<parameter name="minwalkers"> 0.5 </parameter>
</qmc>
</loop>
For each optimization step, you will see
The new set of parameters is valid. Updating the trial wave function!
or
The new set of parameters is not valid. Revert to the old set!
Occasional rejection is fine. Frequent rejection indicates potential
problems, and users should inspect the VMC calculation or change
optimization strategy. To track the progress of optimization, use the
command qmca q ev *.scalar.dat
to look at the VMC energy and
variance for each optimization step.
Adaptive Optimizer
The default setting of the adaptive optimizer is to construct the linear method Hamiltonian and overlap matrices explicitly and add different shifts to the Hamiltonian matrix as “stabilizers.” The generalized eigenvalue problem is solved for each shift to obtain updates to the wavefunction parameters. Then a correlated sampling is performed for each shift’s updated wavefunction and the initial trial wavefunction using the middle shift’s updated wavefunction as the guiding function. The cost function for these wavefunctions is compared, and the update corresponding to the best cost function is selected. In the next iteration, the median magnitude of the stabilizers is set to the magnitude that generated the best update in the current iteration, thus adapting the magnitude of the stabilizers automatically.
When the trial wavefunction contains more than 10,000 parameters, constructing and storing the linear method matrices could become a memory bottleneck. To avoid explicit construction of these matrices, the adaptive optimizer implements the block linear method (BLM) approach. [ZN17] The BLM tries to find an approximate solution \(\vec{c}_{opt}\) to the standard LM generalized eigenvalue problem by dividing the variable space into a number of blocks and making intelligent estimates for which directions within those blocks will be most important for constructing \(\vec{c}_{opt}\), which is then obtained by solving a smaller, more memoryefficient eigenproblem in the basis of these supposedly important blockwise directions.
linear
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
max_relative_change
real
\(> 0\)
10.0
Allowed change in cost function
max_param_change
real
\(> 0\)
0.3
Allowed change in wavefunction parameter
shift_i
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Initial diagonal stabilizer added to the Hamiltonian matrix
shift_s
real
\(> 0\)
1.00
Initial overlapbased stabilizer added to the Hamiltonian matrix
target_shift_i
real
any
1.0
Diagonal stabilizer value aimed for during adaptive method (disabled if \(\leq 0\))
cost_increase_tol
real
\(\geq 0\)
0.0
Tolerance for cost function increases
chase_lowest
text
yes, no
yes
Chase the lowest eigenvector in iterative solver
chase_closest
text
yes, no
no
Chase the eigenvector closest to initial guess
block_lm
text
yes, no
no
Use BLM
blocks
integer
\(> 0\)
Number of blocks in BLM
nolds
integer
\(> 0\)
Number of old update vectors used in BLM
nkept
integer
\(> 0\)
Number of eigenvectors to keep per block in BLM
store_samples
text
yes, no
no
Whether to store derivative ratios from each sample in the LM engine (required for filtering)
filter_param
text
yes, no
no
Whether to turn off optimization of parameters with noisy gradients
deriv_threshold
real
\(> 0\)
0.0
Threshold on the ratio of the parameter gradient mean and standard deviation
filter_info
text
yes, no
no
Whether to print out details on which parameters are turned on or off
Additional information:
shift_i
This is the initial coefficient used to scale the diagonal stabilizer. More stable but slower optimization is expected with a large value. The adaptive method will automatically adjust this value after each linear method iteration.shift_s
This is the initial coefficient used to scale the overlapbased stabilizer. More stable but slower optimization is expected with a large value. The adaptive method will automatically adjust this value after each linear method iteration.target_shift_i
If set greater than zero, the adaptive method will choose the update whose shift_i value is closest to this target value so long as the associated cost is within cost_increase_tol of the lowest cost. Disable this behavior by setting target_shift_i to a negative number.cost_increase_tol
Tolerance for cost function increases when selecting the best shift.nblocks
This is the number of blocks used in BLM. The amount of memory required to store LM matrices decreases as the number of blocks increases. But the error introduced by BLM would increase as the number of blocks increases.nolds
In BLM, the interblock correlation is accounted for by including a small number of wavefunction update vectors outside the block. Larger would include more interblock correlation and more accurate results but also higher memory requirements.nkept
This is the number of update directions retained from each block in the BLM. If all directions are retained in each block, then the BLM becomes equivalent to the standard LM. Retaining five or fewer directions per block is often sufficient.deriv_threshold
This is a threshold on the ratio of the (absolute) mean value of a parameter derivative to the standard deviation of that derivative. Parameters with a ratio less than the chosen threshold will be turned off when using parameter filtration.
Recommendations:
Default
shift_i
,shift_s
should be fine.When there are fewer than about 5,000 variables being optimized, the traditional LM is preferred because it has a lower overhead than the BLM when the number of variables is small.
Initial experience with the BLM suggests that a few hundred blocks and a handful of and often provide a good balance between memory use and accuracy. In general, using fewer blocks should be more accurate but would require more memory.
 When using parameter filtration, setting
deriv_threshold
to 1.0 is an effective choice that generally leads to roughly a third of the parameters being turned off on any given LM iteration. The precise number and identity of those parameters will vary from iteration to iteration. Using the hybrid method (see below) is recommended when parameter filtration is on so that accelerated descent can be used to optimize parameters that the LM leaves untouched. [ON21]
 When using parameter filtration, setting
<loop max="15">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp">
<! Specify the VMC options >
<parameter name="walkers"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="samples"> 20000 </parameter>
<parameter name="stepsbetweensamples"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="substeps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="warmupSteps"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 50 </parameter>
<parameter name="timestep"> 1.0 </parameter>
<parameter name="usedrift"> no </parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<! Specify the correlated sampling options and define the cost function >
<cost name="energy"> 1.00 </cost>
<cost name="unreweightedvariance"> 0.00 </cost>
<cost name="reweightedvariance"> 0.00 </cost>
<! Specify the optimizer options >
<parameter name="MinMethod">adaptive</parameter>
<parameter name="max_relative_cost_change">10.0</parameter>
<parameter name="shift_i"> 1.00 </parameter>
<parameter name="shift_s"> 1.00 </parameter>
<parameter name="max_param_change"> 0.3 </parameter>
<parameter name="chase_lowest"> yes </parameter>
<parameter name="chase_closest"> yes </parameter>
<parameter name="block_lm"> no </parameter>
<! Specify the BLM specific options if needed
<parameter name="nblocks"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="nolds"> 5 </parameter>
<parameter name="nkept"> 3 </parameter>
>
</qmc>
</loop>
The adaptive optimizer is also able to optimize individual excited states directly. [ZN16] In this case, it tries to minimize the following function:
The global minimum of this function corresponds to the state whose energy lies immediately above the shift parameter \(\omega\) in the energy spectrum. For example, if \(\omega\) were placed in between the ground state energy and the first excited state energy and the wavefunction ansatz was capable of a good description for the first excited state, then the wavefunction would be optimized for the first excited state. Note that if the ansatz is not capable of a good description of the excited state in question, the optimization could converge to a different state, as is known to occur in some circumstances for traditional ground state optimizations. Note also that the ground state can be targeted by this method by choosing \(\omega\) to be below the ground state energy, although we should stress that this is not the same thing as a traditional ground state optimization and will in general give a slightly different wavefunction. Excited state targeting requires two additional parameters, as shown in the following table.
Excited state targeting:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
targetExcited
text
yes, no
no
Whether to use the excited state targeting optimization
omega
real
real numbers
none
Energy shift used to target different excited states
Excited state recommendations:
Because of the finite variance in any approximate wavefunction, we recommended setting \(\omega=\omega_0\sigma\), where \(\omega_0\) is placed just below the energy of the targeted state and \(\sigma^2\) is the energy variance.
To obtain an unbiased excitation energy, the ground state should be optimized with the excited state variational principle as well by setting
omega
below the ground state energy. Note that using the ground state variational principle for the ground state and the excited state variational principle for the excited state creates a bias in favor of the ground state.
Descent Optimizer
Gradient descent algorithms are an alternative set of optimization methods to the OneShiftOnly and adaptive optimizers based on the linear method. These methods use only first derivatives to optimize trial wave functions and convergence can be accelerated by retaining a memory of previous derivative values. Multiple flavors of accelerated descent methods are available. They differ in details such as the schemes for adaptive adjustment of step sizes. [ON19] Descent algorithms avoid the construction of matrices that occurs in the linear method and consequently can be applied to larger sets of optimizable parameters. Parameters for descent are shown in the table below.
descent
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
flavor
text
RMSprop, Random, ADAM, AMSGrad
RMSprop
Particular type of descent method
Ramp_eta
text
yes, no
no
Whether to gradually ramp up step sizes
Ramp_num
integer
\(> 0\)
30
Number of steps over which to ramp up step size
TJF_2Body_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Step size for two body Jastrow parameters
TJF_1Body_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Step size for one body Jastrow parameters
F_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.001
Step size for number counting Jastrow F matrix parameters
Gauss_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.001
Step size for number counting Jastrow gaussian basis parameters
CI_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Step size for CI parameters
Orb_eta
real
\(> 0\)
0.001
Step size for orbital parameters
collection_step
real
\(> 0\)
0.01
Step number to start collecting samples for final averages
compute_step
real
\(> 0\)
0.001
Step number to start computing averaged from stored history
print_derivs
real
yes, no
no
Whether to print parameter derivatives
These descent algorithms have been extended to the optimization of the same excited state functional as the adaptive LM. [LON20] This also allows the hybrid optimizer discussed below to be applied to excited states. The relevant parameters are the same as for targeting excited states with the adaptive optimizer above.
Additional information and recommendations:
It is generally advantageous to set different step sizes for different types of parameters. More nonlinear parameters such as those for number counting Jastrow factors or orbitals typically require smaller steps sizes than those for CI coefficients or traditional Jastrow parameters. There are defaults for several parameter types and a default of .001 has been chosen for all other parameters.
The ability to gradually ramp up step sizes to their input values is useful for avoiding spikes in the average local energy during early iterations of descent optimization. This initial rise in the energy occurs as a memory of past gradients is being built up and it may be possible for the energy to recover without ramping if there are enough iterations in the optimization.
The step sizes chosen can have a substantial influence on the quality of the optimization and the final variational energy achieved. Larger step sizes may be helpful if there is reason to think the descent optimization is not reaching the minimum energy. There are also additional hyperparameters in the descent algorithms with default values. [ON19] They seem to have limited influence on the effectiveness of the optimization compared to step sizes, but users can adjust them within the source code of the descent engine if they wish.
The sampling effort for individual descent steps can be small compared that for linear method iterations as shown in the example input below. Something in the range of 10,000 to 30,000 seems sufficient for molecules with tens of electrons. However, descent optimizations may require anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand iterations.
For reporting quantities such as a final energy and associated uncertainty, an average over many descent steps can be taken. The parameters for
collection_step
andcompute_step
help automate this task. After the descent iteration specified bycollection_step
, a history of local energy values will be kept for determining a final error and average, which will be computed and given in the output once the iteration specified bycompute_step
is reached. For reasonable results, this procedure should use descent steps near the end of the optimization when the wave function parameters are essentially no longer changing.
In cases where a descent optimization struggles to reach the minimum and a linear method optimization is not possible or unsatisfactory, it may be useful to try the hybrid optimization approach described in the next subsection.
<loop max="2000">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" checkpoint="1" gpu="no">
<! VMC inputs >
<parameter name="blocks">2000</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">1</parameter>
<parameter name="samples">20000</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">100</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.05</parameter>
<parameter name="MinMethod">descent</parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="usebuffer">yes</parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<! Descent Inputs >
<parameter name="flavor">RMSprop</parameter>
<parameter name="Ramp_eta">no</parameter>
<parameter name="Ramp_num">30</parameter>
<parameter name="TJF_2Body_eta">.02</parameter>
<parameter name="TJF_1Body_eta">.02</parameter>
<parameter name="F_eta">.001</parameter>
<parameter name="Gauss_eta">.001</parameter>
<parameter name="CI_eta">.1</parameter>
<parameter name="Orb_eta">.0001</parameter>
<parameter name="collection_step">500</parameter>
<parameter name="compute_step">998</parameter>
<parameter name="targetExcited"> yes </parameter>
<parameter name="targetExcited"> 11.4 </parameter>
<parameter name="print_derivs">no</parameter>
</qmc>
</loop>
Hybrid Optimizer
Another optimization option is to use a hybrid combination of accelerated descent and blocked linear method.
It provides a means to retain the advantages of both individual methods while scaling to large numbers of parameters beyond the traditional 10,000 parameter limit of the linear method. [ON19]
In a hybrid optimization, alternating sections of descent and BLM optimization are used.
Gradient descent is used to identify the previous important directions in parameter space used by the BLM, the number of which is set by the nold
input for the BLM.
Over the course of a section of descent, vectors of parameter differences are stored and then passed to the linear method engine after the optimization changes to the BLM.
One motivation for including sections of descent is to counteract noise in linear method updates due to uncertainties in its step direction and allow for a smoother movement to the minimum.
There are two additional parameters used in the hybrid optimization and it requires a slightly different format of input to specify the constituent methods as shown below in the example.
descent
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
num_updates
integer
\(> 0\)
Number of steps for a method
Stored_Vectors
integer
\(> 0\)
5
Number of vectors to transfer to BLM
<loop max="203">
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" checkpoint="1" gpu="no">
<parameter name="Minmethod"> hybrid </parameter>
<optimizer num_updates="100">
<parameter name="blocks">1000</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">1</parameter>
<parameter name="samples">20000</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">1000</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.05</parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="Minmethod"> descent </parameter>
<parameter name="Stored_Vectors">5</parameter>
<parameter name="flavor">RMSprop</parameter>
<parameter name="TJF_2Body_eta">.01</parameter>
<parameter name="TJF_1Body_eta">.01</parameter>
<parameter name="CI_eta">.1</parameter>
<parameter name="Ramp_eta">no</parameter>
<parameter name="Ramp_num">10</parameter>
</optimizer>
<optimizer num_updates="3">
<parameter name="blocks">2000</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">1</parameter>
<parameter name="samples">1000000</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">1000</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.05</parameter>
<estimator name="LocalEnergy" hdf5="no"/>
<parameter name="Minmethod"> adaptive </parameter>
<parameter name="max_relative_cost_change">10.0</parameter>
<parameter name="max_param_change">3</parameter>
<parameter name="shift_i">0.01</parameter>
<parameter name="shift_s">1.00</parameter>
<parameter name="block_lm">yes</parameter>
<parameter name="nblocks">2</parameter>
<parameter name="nolds">5</parameter>
<parameter name="nkept">5</parameter>
</optimizer>
</qmc>
</loop>
Additional information and recommendations:
In the example above, the input for
loop
gives the total number of steps for the full optimization while the inputs fornum_updates
specify the number of steps in the constituent methods. For this case, the optimization would begin with 100 steps of descent using the parameters in the firstoptimizer
block and then switch to the BLM for 3 steps before switching back to descent for the final 100 iterations of the total of 203.The design of the hybrid method allows for more than two
optimizer
blocks to be used and the optimization will cycle through the individual methods. However, the effectiveness of this in terms of the quality of optimization results is unexplored.It can be useful to follow a hybrid optimization with a section of pure descent optimization and take an average energy over the last few hundred iterations as the final variational energy. This approach can achieve a lower statistical uncertainty on the energy for less overall sampling effort compared to what a pure linear method optimization would require. The
collection_step
andcompute_step
parameters discussed earlier for descent are useful for setting up the descent engine to do this averaging on its own.
Quartic Optimizer
This is an older optimizer method retained for compatibility. We recommend starting with the newest OneShiftOnly or adaptive optimizers. The quartic optimizer fits a quartic polynomial to 7 values of the cost function obtained using reweighting along the chosen direction and determines the optimal move. This optimizer is very robust but is a bit conservative when accepting new steps, especially when large parameters changes are proposed.
linear
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
bigchange
real
\(> 0\)
50.0
Largest parameter change allowed
alloweddifference
real
\(> 0\)
1e4
Allowed increase in energy
exp0
real
any value
16.0
Initial value for stabilizer
stabilizerscale
real
\(> 0\)
2.0
Increase in value of
exp0
between iterations
nstabilizers
integer
\(> 0\)
3
Number of stabilizers to try
max_its
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Number of inner loops with same samples
Additional information:
exp0
This is the initial value for stabilizer (shift to diagonal of H). The actual value of stabilizer is \(10^{\textrm{exp0}}\).
Recommendations:
For hard cases (e.g., simultaneous optimization of long MSD and 3Body J), set
exp0
to 0 and do a single inner iteration (max its=1) per sample of configurations.
<! Specify the optimizer options >
<parameter name="MinMethod">quartic</parameter>
<parameter name="exp0">6</parameter>
<parameter name="alloweddifference"> 1.0e4 </parameter>
<parameter name="nstabilizers"> 1 </parameter>
<parameter name="bigchange">15.0</parameter>
General Recommendations
All electron wavefunctions are typically more difficult to optimize than pseudopotential wavefunctions because of the importance of the wavefunction near the nucleus.
Twobody Jastrow contributes the largest portion of correlation energy from bare Slater determinants. Consequently, the recommended order for optimizing wavefunction components is twobody, onebody, threebody Jastrow factors and MSD coefficients.
For twobody spline Jastrows, always start from a reasonable one. The lack of physically motivated constraints in the functional form at large distances can cause slow convergence if starting from zero.
Onebody spline Jastrow from old calculations can be a good starting point.
Threebody polynomial Jastrow can start from zero. It is beneficial to first optimize onebody and twobody Jastrow factors without adding threebody terms in the calculation and then add the threebody Jastrow and optimize all the three components together.
Optimization of CI coefficients
When storing a CI wavefunction in HDF5 format, the CI coefficients and the \(\alpha\) and \(\beta\) components of each CI are not in the XML input file. When optimizing the CI coefficients, they will be stored in HDF5 format. The optimization header block will have to specify that the new CI coefficients will be saved to HDF5 format. If the tag is not added coefficients will not be saved.
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" gpu="no" hdf5="yes">
The rest of the optimization block remains the same.
When running the optimization, the new coefficients will be stored in a *.sXXX.opt.h5
file, where XXX corresponds to the series number. The H5 file contains only the optimized coefficients. The corresponding *.sXXX.opt.xml
will be updated for each optimization block as follows:
<detlist size="1487" type="DETS" nca="0" ncb="0" nea="2" neb="2" nstates="85" cutoff="1e2" href="../LiH.orbs.h5" opt_coeffs="LiH.s001.opt.h5"/>
The opt_coeffs tag will then reference where the new CI coefficients are stored.
When restarting the run with the new optimized coeffs, you need to specify the previous hdf5 containing the basis set, orbitals, and MSD, as well as the new optimized coefficients. The code will read the previous data but will rewrite the coefficients that were optimized with the values found in the *.sXXX.opt.h5 file. Be careful to keep the pair of optimized CI coefficients and Jastrow coefficients together to avoid inconsistencies.
Parameter gradients
The gradients of the energy with respect to the variational parameters can be checked and optionally written to a file.
The check compares the analytic derivatives with a finite difference approximation.
These are activated by giving a gradient_test
method in an optimize
block, as follows:
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp">
<optimize method="gradient_test">
</optimize>
... rest of optimizer input ...
The check will print a table to the standard output with the parameter name, value, analytic gradient, finite difference gradient, and the percent difference between them.
Writing the analytic parameter gradients to a file is enabled by using the output_param_file
parameter.
The file name is <project id>.param.s000.scalar.dat
.
It contains one line per loop iteration, to allow using existing tools to compute averages and error bars on the values.
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
output_param_file
text
yes, no
no
Output parameter gradients to a file
finite_diff_delta
double
\(> 0\)
1e5
Finite difference delta
The input would look like the following:
<qmc method="linear" move="pbyp" checkpoint="1" gpu="no">
<optimize method="gradient_test">
<parameter name="output_param_file">yes</parameter>
</optimize>
... rest of optimizer input ...
The output has columns for the parameter name, value, analytic gradient, numeric gradient, and relative difference (in percent). Following the relative difference, there may be exclamation marks which highlight large differences that likely indicate a problem.
Sample output looks like:
Param_Name Value Numeric Analytic Percent
updet_orb_rot_0000_0002 0.000000e+00 1.8622037512e02 4.6904958207e02 3.52e+02 !!!
updet_orb_rot_0001_0002 0.000000e+00 1.6733860519e03 3.9023863136e03 1.33e+02 !!!
downdet_orb_rot_0000_0002 0.000000e+00 9.3267917833e03 8.0747281231e03 1.34e+01 !!!
downdet_orb_rot_0001_0002 0.000000e+00 4.3276838557e03 2.6684235669e02 7.17e+02 !!!
uu_0 0.000000e+00 1.2724910770e02 1.2724906671e02 3.22e05
uu_1 0.000000e+00 2.0305884219e02 2.0305883999e02 1.08e06
uu_2 0.000000e+00 1.1644597731e03 1.1644591818e03 5.08e05
Output of intermediate values
Use the following parameters to the linear optimizers to output intermediate values such as the overlap and Hamiltonian matrices.
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
output_matrices_csv
text
yes, no
no
Output linear method matrices to CSV files
output_matrices_hdf
text
yes, no
no
Output linear method matrices to HDF file
freeze_parameters
text
yes, no
no
Do not update parameters between iterations
The
output_matrices_csv
parameter will write to <base name>.ham.s000.scalar.dat and <base name>.ovl.scalar.dat. One line per iteration of the optimizer loop. Combined withfreeze_parameters
, this allows computing error bars on the matrices for use in regression testing.The
output_matrices_hdf
parameter will output in HDF format the matrices used in the linear method along with the shifts and the eigenvalue and eigenvector produced by QMCPACK. The file is named “<base name>.<series number>.linear_matrices.h5”. It only works with the batched optimizer (batched version oflinear
)
Diffusion Monte Carlo
dmc
driver
Main input parameters are given in table9
, additional in table10
.
parameters:
Name 
Datatype 
Values 
Default 
Description 


integer 
\(> 0\) 
dep. 
Overall total number of walkers 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
1 
Number of blocks 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
1 
Number of steps per block 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
0 
Number of steps for warming up 

real 
\(> 0\) 
0.1 
Time step for each electron move 

string 
yes, no, v0, v1, v3 
no 
Run with Tmoves 

string 
classic/DRV/ZSGMA/YL 
classic 
Branch cutoff scheme 

real 
\(\geq 0\) 
3.6e5 
Deprecated. Superseded by 

real 
\(\geq 0\) 
3.6e5 
Maximum allowed walltime in seconds 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
dep. 
Wavefunction recompute frequency 

real 
\(> 0\) 
1.0 
Effective mass for spin sampling 

text 
see additional info 
dep. 
Turn on/off additional recompute and checks 
Table 9 Main DMC input parameters.
Name 
Datatype 
Values 
Default 
Description 


integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
0 
Trial energy update interval 

real 
all values 
dep. 
Reference energy in atomic units 

double 
\(\geq 0\) 
1.0 
Population feedback on the trial energy 

10 
\(\geq 0\) 
10 
Parameter to cutoff large weights 

string 
yes/other 
no 
Kill or reject walkers that cross nodes 

option 
yes,no 
0 
Warm up with a fixed population 

string 
yes/pure/other 
no 
Fixed population technique 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
1 
Branching interval 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
1 
Branching interval 

double 
\(\geq 0\) 
10 
Kill persistent walkers 

double 
\(\geq 0\) 
2 
Limit population growth 

real 
all values 
1 
Maximum particle move 

integer 
\(\geq 0\) 
100 
Number of steps between walker updates 

string 
yes/no 
yes 
Using nonblocking send/recv 

string 
yes/no 
no 
Disable branching for debugging without correctness guarantee 
Table 10 Additional DMC input parameters.
Additional information:
targetwalkers
: A DMC run can be considered a restart run or a new run. A restart run is considered to be any method block beyond the first one, such as when a DMC method block follows a VMC block. Alternatively, a user reading in configurations from disk would also considered a restart run. In the case of a restart run, the DMC driver will use the configurations from the previous run, and this variable will not be used. For a new run, if the number of walkers is less than the number of threads, then the number of walkers will be set equal to the number of threads.blocks
: This is the number of blocks run during a DMC method block. A block consists of a number of DMC steps (steps), after which all the statistics accumulated in the block are written to disk.steps
: This is the number of DMC steps in a block.timestep
: Thetimestep
determines the accuracy of the imaginary time propagator. Generally, multiple time steps are used to extrapolate to the infinite time step limit. A good range of time steps in which to perform time step extrapolation will typically have a minimum of 99% acceptance probability for each step.checkproperties
: When using a particlebyparticle driver, this variable specifies how often to reset all the variables kept in the buffer.maxcpusecs
: Deprecated. Superseded bymax_seconds
.max_seconds
: The default is 100 hours. Once the specified time has elapsed, the program will finalize the simulation even if all blocks are not completed.spinMass
This is an optional parameter to allow the user to change the rate of spin sampling. If spin sampling is on usingspinor
== yes in the electron ParticleSet input, the spin mass determines the rate of spin sampling, resulting in an effective spin timestep \(\tau_s = \frac{\tau}{\mu_s}\) where \(\tau\) is the normal spatial timestep and \(\mu_s\) is the value of the spin mass. The algorithm is described in detail in [MZG+16] and [MBM16].debug_checks
valid values are ‘no’, ‘all’, ‘checkGL_after_moves’. If the build type is debug, the default value is ‘all’. Otherwise, the default value is ‘no’.warmupsteps
: These are the steps at the beginning of a DMC run in which the instantaneous population average energy is used to update the trial energy and updates happen at every step. The aim is to rapidly equilibrate the population while avoiding overly large population fluctuations. Unlike VMC, these warmupsteps are included in the requested DMC step count.
where \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) is the local energy average over the walker population at the current step and \(N_\text{pop}\) is the current walker population size. After the warmup phase, the trial energy is updated as
where \(E_\text{ref}\) is the \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) average over all the post warmup steps up to the current step. The update frequency is controlled by energyUpdateInterval
.
energyUpdateInterval
: Post warmup, the trial energy is updated everyenergyUpdateInterval
steps. Default value is 1 (every step).refEnergy
: The default reference energy is taken from the VMC run that precedes the DMC run. This value is updated to the current mean whenever branching happens.feedback
: This variable is used to determine how strong to react to population fluctuations when doing population control. Default value is 1. See the equation inwarmupsteps
for more details.useBareTau
: The same time step is used whether or not a move is rejected. The default is to use an effective time step when a move is rejected.warmupByReconfiguration
: Warmup DMC is done with a fixed population.sigmaBound
: This determines the branch cutoff to limit wild weights based on the sigma andsigmaBound
.killnode
: When running fixednode, if a walker attempts to cross a node, the move will normally be rejected. Ifkillnode
= “yes,” then walkers are destroyed when they cross a node.reconfiguration
: Ifreconfiguration
is “yes,” then run with a fixed walker population using the reconfiguration technique.branchInterval
: This is the number of steps between branching. The total number of DMC steps in a block will beBranchInterval
*Steps.substeps
: This is the same asBranchInterval
.nonlocalmoves
: Evaluate pseudopotentials using one of the nonlocal move algorithms such as Tmoves.no(default): Imposes the locality approximation.
yes/v0: Implements the algorithm in the 2006 Casula paper [Cas06].
v1: Implements the v1 algorithm in the 2010 Casula paper [CMSF10].
v2: Is not implemented and is skipped to avoid any confusion with the v2 algorithm in the 2010 Casula paper [CMSF10].
v3: (Experimental) Implements an algorithm similar to v1 but is much faster. v1 computes the transition probability before each single electron Tmove selection because of the acceptance of previous Tmoves. v3 mostly reuses the transition probability computed during the evaluation of nonlocal pseudopotentials for the local energy, namely before accepting any Tmoves, and only recomputes the transition probability of the electrons within the same pseudopotential region of any electrons touched by Tmoves. This is an approximation to v1 and results in a slightly different time step error, but it significantly reduces the computational cost. v1 and v3 agree at zero time step. This faster algorithm is the topic of a paper in preparation.
The v1 and v3 algorithms are sizeconsistent and are important advances over the previous v0 nonsizeconsistent algorithm. We highly recommend investigating the importance of sizeconsistency.
MaxAge
: Set the weight of a walker to min(currentweight,0.5) after a walker has not moved forMaxAge
steps. Needed if persistent walkers appear during the course of a run.MaxCopy
: When determining the number of copies of a walker to branch, set the number of copies equal to min(Multiplicity,MaxCopy).maxDisplSq
: When running a DMC calculation with particle by particle, this sets the maximum displacement allowed for a single particle move. All distance displacements larger than the max are rejected. If initialized to a negative value, it becomes equal to Lattice(LR/rc).sigmaBound
: This determines the branch cutoff to limit wild weights based on the sigma andsigmaBound
.blocks_between_recompute
: See details in Variational Monte Carlo.branching_cutoff_scheme:
Modifies how the branching factor is computed so as to avoid divergences and stability problems near nodal surfaces.classic (default): The implementation found in QMCPACK v3.0.0 and earlier. \(E_{\rm cut}=\mathrm{min}(\mathrm{max}(\sigma^2 \times \mathrm{sigmaBound},\mathrm{maxSigma}),2.5/\tau)\), where \(\sigma^2\) is the variance and \(\mathrm{maxSigma}\) is set to 50 during warmup (equilibration) and 10 thereafter. \(\mathrm{sigmaBound}\) is default to 10.
DRV: Implements the algorithm of DePasquale et al., Eq. 3 in [DRV88] or Eq. 9 of [UNR93]. \(E_{\rm cut}=2.0/\sqrt{\tau}\).
ZSGMA: Implements the “ZSGMA” algorithm of [ZSG+16] with \(\alpha=0.2\). The cutoff energy is modified by a factor including the electron count, \(E_{\rm cut}=\alpha \sqrt{N/\tau}\), which greatly improves size consistency over Eq. 39 of [UNR93]. See Eq. 6 in [ZSG+16] and for an application to molecular crystals [ZBKlimevs+18].
YL: An unpublished algorithm due to Ye Luo. \(E_{\rm cut}=\sigma\times\mathrm{min}(\mathrm{sigmaBound},\sqrt{1/\tau})\). This option takes into account both size consistency and wavefunction quality via the term \(\sigma\). \(\mathrm{sigmaBound}\) is default to 10.
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" target="e">
<parameter name="blocks">100</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">400</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.010</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">100</parameter>
</qmc>
The time step should be individually adjusted for each problem. Please refer to the theory section on diffusion Monte Carlo.
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" checkpoint="0">
<parameter name="timestep"> 0.004 </parameter>
<parameter name="blocks"> 100 </parameter>
<parameter name="steps"> 400 </parameter>
</qmc>
The checkpoint flag instructs QMCPACK to output walker configurations.
This also works in VMC. This will output an h5 file with the name
projectid.runnumber.config.h5
. Check that this file exists before
attempting a restart. To read in this file for a continuation run,
specify the following:
<mcwalkerset fileroot="BH.s002" version="0 6" collected="yes"/>
BH is the project id, and s002 is the calculation number to read in the walkers from the previous run.
Combining VMC and DMC in a single run (wavefunction optimization can be combined in this way too) is the standard way in which QMCPACK is typically run. There is no need to run two separate jobs since method sections can be stacked and walkers are transferred between them.
<qmc method="vmc" move="pbyp" target="e">
<parameter name="blocks">100</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">4000</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">100</parameter>
<parameter name="samples">1920</parameter>
<parameter name="walkers">1</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.5</parameter>
</qmc>
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" target="e">
<parameter name="blocks">100</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">400</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.010</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">100</parameter>
</qmc>
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" target="e">
<parameter name="warmupsteps">500</parameter>
<parameter name="blocks">50</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">100</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.005</parameter>
</qmc>
Batched dmc
driver (experimental)
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
total_walkers
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Total number of walkers over all MPI ranks
target_walkers
integer
\(> 0\)
total_walkers
Target walker count by the population control
walkers_per_rank
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Number of walkers per MPI rank
crowds
integer
\(> 0\)
dep.
Number of desynchronized dwalker crowds
blocks
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of blocks
steps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of steps per block
warmupsteps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of steps for warming up
timestep
real
\(> 0\)
0.1
Time step for each electron move
nonlocalmoves
string
yes, no, v0, v1, v3
no
Run with Tmoves
branching_cutoff_scheme
string
classic/DRV/ZSGMA/YL
classic
Branch cutoff scheme
blocks_between_recompute
integer
\(\geq 0\)
dep.
Wavefunction recompute frequency
feedback
double
\(\geq 0\)
1.0
Population feedback on the trial energy
sigmaBound
10
\(\geq 0\)
10
Parameter to cutoff large weights
reconfiguration
string
yes/pure/other
no
Fixed population technique
use_nonblocking
string
yes/no
yes
Using nonblocking send/recv
debug_disable_branching
string
yes/no
no
Disable branching for debugging
crowd_serialize_walkers
integer
yes, no
no
Force use of single walker APIs (for testing)
debug_checks
text
see additional info
dep.
Turn on/off additional recompute and checks
spin_mass
real
\(\geq 0\)
1.0
Effective mass for spin sampling
measure_imbalance
text
yes,no
no
Measure load imbalance at the end of each block
crowds
The number of crowds that the walkers are subdivided into on each MPI rank. If not provided, it is set equal to the number of OpenMP threads.walkers_per_rank
The number of walkers per MPI rank when a DMC calculation starts. This number does not have to be a multiple of the number of OpenMP threads. However, to avoid any idle resources, it is recommended to be at least the number of OpenMP threads for pure CPU runs. For GPU runs, a scan of this parameter is necessary to reach reasonable single rank efficiency and also get a balanced time to solution. For highest throughput on GPUs, expect to use hundreds of walkers_per_rank, or the largest number that will fit in GPU memory.If neither
total_walkers
norwalkers_per_rank
is provided and there are walker configurations carried over from previous QMC sections or a restart, the population carried over will be used without modification.If neither
total_walkers
norwalkers_per_rank
is provided and there are no walker configurations carried over,walkers_per_rank
is set equal tocrowds
.total_walkers
Total number of walkers summed over all MPI ranks, or equivalently the total number of walkers when a DMC calculation starts. If not provided, it is computed aswalkers_per_rank
times the number of MPI ranks. If bothtotal_walkers
andwalkers_per_rank
are provided, which is not recommended,total_walkers
must be consistently set equal towalkers_per_rank
times the number MPI ranks.target_walkers
The target population size. Population control algorithms work towards this target. Do not confuse it with the actual walker count during random walking. The default will be the number of walkers when a DMC calculation starts, namelytotal_walkers
.debug_checks
valid values are ‘no’, ‘all’, ‘checkGL_after_load’, ‘checkGL_after_moves’, ‘checkGL_after_tmove’. If the build type is debug, the default value is ‘all’. Otherwise, the default value is ‘no’.spin_mass
Optional parameter to allow the user to change the rate of spin sampling. If spin sampling is on usingspinor
== yes in the electron ParticleSet input, the spin mass determines the rate of spin sampling, resulting in an effective spin timestep \(\tau_s = \frac{\tau}{\mu_s}\). The algorithm is described in detail in [MZG+16] and [MBM16].warmupsteps
: These are the steps at the beginning of a DMC run in which the instantaneous population average energy is used to update the trial energy and updates happen at every step. The aim is to rapidly equilibrate the population while avoiding overly large population fluctuations. Unlike VMC, these warmupsteps are included in the requested DMC step count.
where \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) is the local energy average over the walker population at the current step and \(W_\text{pop}\) is the current population weight before the population adjustment in branching. After the warmup phase, the reference and trial energy values are updated as
where \(E_\text{ref}\) is the \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) average over all the post warmup steps up to the current step. The update frequency is controlled by energyUpdateInterval
.
energyUpdateInterval
: Post warmup, the trial energy is updated everyenergyUpdateInterval
steps. Default value is 1 (every step).refEnergy
: The default reference energy is taken from the VMC run that precedes the DMC run. This value is updated to the current mean whenever branching happens.feedback
: This variable is used to determine how strong to react to population fluctuations when doing population control. Default value is 1. See the equation inwarmupsteps
for more details.refenergy_update_scheme
: choose a scheme for updating \(E_\text{ref}\) used in calculating \(E_\text{trial}\). ‘unlimited_history’ uses unweighted average of \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) of all the steps collected post warmup. ‘limited_history’ uses weighted average of \(E_\text{pop\_avg}\) of the latest at maximum min(1, int(1.0 / (feedback * tau))) steps collected post warmup. Default ‘unlimited_history’.
<qmc method="dmc" move="pbyp" target="e">
<parameter name="walkers_per_rank">256</parameter>
<parameter name="blocks">100</parameter>
<parameter name="steps">400</parameter>
<parameter name="timestep">0.010</parameter>
<parameter name="warmupsteps">100</parameter>
</qmc>
Reptation Monte Carlo
Like DMC, RMC is a projectorbased method that allows sampling of the fixednode wavefunction. However, by exploiting the pathintegral formulation of Schrödinger’s equation, the RMC algorithm can offer some advantages over traditional DMC, such as sampling both the mixed and pure fixednode distributions in polynomial time, as well as not having population fluctuations and biases. The current implementation does not work with Tmoves.
There are two adjustable parameters that affect the quality of the RMC projection: imaginary projection time \(\beta\) of the sampling path (commonly called a “reptile”) and the Trotter time step \(\tau\). \(\beta\) must be chosen to be large enough such that \(e^{\beta \hat{H}}\Psi_T\rangle \approx \Phi_0\rangle\) for mixed observables, and \(e^{\frac{\beta}{2} \hat{H}}\Psi_T\rangle \approx \Phi_0\rangle\) for pure observables. The reptile is discretized into \(M=\beta/\tau\) beads at the cost of an \(\mathcal{O}(\tau)\) timestep error for observables arising from the TrotterSuzuki breakup of the shorttime propagator.
The following table lists some of the more practical
vmc
method:
parameters:
Name
Datatype
Values
Default
Description
beta
real
\(> 0\)
dep.
Reptile project time \(\beta\)
timestep
real
\(> 0\)
0.1
Trotter time step \(\tau\) for each electron move
beads
int
\(> 0\)
1
Number of reptile beads \(M=\beta/\tau\)
blocks
integer
\(> 0\)
1
Number of blocks
steps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
1
Number of steps per block
vmcpresteps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Propagates reptile using VMC for given number of steps
warmupsteps
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Number of steps for warming up
maxAge
integer
\(\geq 0\)
0
Force accept for stuck reptile if age exceeds
maxAge
Additional information:
Because of the sampling differences between DMC ensembles of walkers and
RMC reptiles, the RMC block should contain the following estimator
declaration to ensure correct sampling:
<estimator name="RMC" hdf5="no">
.
beta
orbeads
? One or the other can be specified, and from the Trotter time step, the code will construct an appropriately sized reptile. If both are given,beta
overridesbeads
.Mixed vs. pure observables? Configurations sampled by the endpoints of the reptile are distributed according to the mixed distribution \(f(\mathbf{R})=\Psi_T(\mathbf{R})\Phi_0(\mathbf{R})\). Any observable that is computable within DMC and is dumped to the
scalar.dat
file will likewise be found in thescalar.dat
file generated by RMC, except there will be an appended_m
to alert the user that the observable was computed on the mixed distribution. For pure observables, care must be taken in the interpretation. If the observable is diagonal in the position basis (in layman’s terms, if it is entirely computable from a single electron configuration \(\mathbf{R}\), like the potential energy), and if the observable does not have an explicit dependence on the trial wavefunction (e.g., the local energy has an explicit dependence on the trial wavefunction from the kinetic energy term), then pure estimates will be correctly computed. These observables will be found in either thescalar.dat
, where they will be appended with a_p
suffix, or in thestat.h5
file. No mixed estimators will be dumped to the h5 file.Sampling: For pure estimators, the traces of both pure and mixed estimates should be checked. Ergodicity is a known problem in RMC. Because we use the bounce algorithm, it is possible for the reptile to bounce back and forth without changing the electron coordinates of the central beads. This might not easily show up with mixed estimators, since these are accumulated at constantly regrown ends, but pure estimates are accumulated on these central beads and so can exhibit strong autocorrelations in pure estimate traces.
Propagator: Our implementation of RMC uses Moroni’s DMC link action (symmetrized), with Umrigar’s scaled drift near nodes. In this regard, the propagator is identical to the one QMCPACK uses in DMC.
Sampling: We use Ceperley’s bounce algorithm.
MaxAge
is used in case the reptile gets stuck, at which point the code forces move acceptance, stops accumulating statistics, and reequilibrates the reptile. Very rarely will this be required. For move proposals, we use particlebyparticle VMC a total of \(N_e\) times to generate a new allelectron configuration, at which point the action is computed and the move is either accepted or rejected.
 Cas06
Michele Casula. Beyond the locality approximation in the standard diffusion Monte Carlo method. Physical Review B  Condensed Matter and Materials Physics, 74:1–4, 2006. doi:10.1103/PhysRevB.74.161102.
 CMSF10(1,2)
Michele Casula, Saverio Moroni, Sandro Sorella, and Claudia Filippi. Sizeconsistent variational approaches to nonlocal pseudopotentials: Standard and lattice regularized diffusion Monte Carlo methods revisited. Journal of Chemical Physics, 2010. arXiv:1002.0356, doi:10.1063/1.3380831.
 DRV88
Michael F. DePasquale, Stuart M. Rothstein, and Jan Vrbik. Reliable diffusion quantum monte carlo. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 89(6):3629–3637, September 1988. doi:10.1063/1.454883.
 LON20
Leon Otis, Isaac M. Craig and Eric Neuscamman. A hybrid approach to excitedstatespecific variational monte carlo and doubly excited states. J. Chem. Phys., 153:234105, 2020. doi:10.1063/5.0024572.
 MBM16(1,2,3,4)
Cody A. Melton, M. Chandler Bennett, and Lubos Mitas. Quantum monte carlo with variable spins. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 144(24):244113, 2016. doi:10.1063/1.4954726.
 MZG+16(1,2,3,4)
Cody A. Melton, Minyi Zhu, Shi Guo, Alberto Ambrosetti, Francesco Pederiva, and Lubos Mitas. Spinorbit interactions in electronic structure quantum monte carlo methods. Phys. Rev. A, 93:042502, Apr 2016. doi:10.1103/PhysRevA.93.042502.
 ON19(1,2,3)
Leon Otis and Eric Neuscamman. Complementary first and second derivative methods for ansatz optimization in variational monte carlo. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 21:14491, 2019. doi:10.1039/C9CP02269D.
 ON21
Leon Otis and Eric Neuscamman. Combining statespecific quantum chemistry and quantum monte carlo for molecular excited states. arXiv preprint arXiv:2111.07221, 2021. URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/2111.07221.
 UNR93(1,2)
C J Umrigar, M P Nightingale, and K J Runge. A diffusion Monte Carlo algorithm with very small timestep errors A diffusion Monte Carlo algorithm with very small timestep errors. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 99(4):2865, 1993. doi:10.1063/1.465195.
 ZBKlimevs+18
Andrea Zen, Jan Gerit Brandenburg, Jiř\'ı Klimeš, Alexandre Tkatchenko, Dario Alfè, and Angelos Michaelides. Fast and accurate quantum monte carlo for molecular crystals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(8):1724–1729, February 2018. doi:10.1073/pnas.1715434115.
 ZSG+16(1,2)
Andrea Zen, Sandro Sorella, Michael J. Gillan, Angelos Michaelides, and Dario Alfè. Boosting the accuracy and speed of quantum monte carlo: size consistency and time step. Physical Review B, June 2016. doi:10.1103/physrevb.93.241118.
 ZN16
Luning Zhao and Eric Neuscamman. An efficient variational principle for the direct optimization of excited states. J. Chem. Theory. Comput., 12:3436, 2016. doi:10.1021/acs.jctc.6b00508.
 ZN17
Luning Zhao and Eric Neuscamman. A blocked linear method for optimizing large parameter sets in variational monte carlo. J. Chem. Theory. Comput., 2017. doi:10.1021/acs.jctc.7b00119.