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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/K040138/1
Title: SI2-CHE: Development and Deployment of Chemical Software for Advanced Potential Energy Surfaces
Principal Investigator: Smith, Dr LA
Other Investigators:
Chue Hong, Mr NP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Claremont McKenna College New York University Regents of the Univ California Berkeley
Rutgers State University of New Jersey Washington University in St Louis
Department: Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 09 April 2013 Ends: 08 April 2016 Value (£): 361,289
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
EP/K039156/1 EP/K040529/1
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Molecular dynamics simulations provide a powerful tool to study a wide range of chemical and biochemical systems. The simulations provide a movie of the atoms diffusing over time, from which important dynamic and thermodynamic properties may be calculated. The reliability of these simulations is, however, limited by the accuracy of the model used to describe how the atoms in the system interact with each other. Conventional force fields, in which fixed charges are used, represent a major factor limiting the successful application of computer simulations to a variety of grand challenge problems in computational chemistry, biochemistry and materials science. Polarizable empirical force fields, which offer a clear and systematic improvement by allowing atom-centred charges to change depending on their environment, have been recently developed by most major research groups in force field development to increase accuracy. These advanced potential energy surfaces are important for the future of grand challenge applications such as the design of environmentally friendly materials, chemical reactions and reactivity critical for chemical synthesis, and biological complexity such as protein-drug interactions.

However, there are obstacles to using advanced potential energy surfaces for these grand challenge chemistry problems: the computational cost of the models, limited dissemination to a broad range of community codes, and lagging quality software implementations on HPC architectures and newer GPU and multicore hardware. To address these issues, we have organized a UK and US consortium that represents a broad cross section of the computational chemistry software community involved in chemical and biochemical applications, force field development, electronic structure methods, molecular dynamics algorithms, and software engineering with computer science experts. In this project, state-of-the-art polarizable potential energy functions will be consistently implemented and tested in a number of the most widely used simulation codes. The latest software development practices will be used to ensure that the freely-available developed software meets the highest standards of robustness, maintainability, and usability. New methodologies to improve the computational performance of these models will also be implemented. An important aspect of our work is to combine these latest force field models with quantum mechanical methods, allowing the accurate modelling of chemical reactivity and excited states. Our international collaboration between US and UK universities and HPC centres will ensure that the investment made in molecular simulation software is successfully deployed on current and emergent hardware and will also realize a long term payoff in community availability and sustainability. This project will lead to a step-change in the use of advanced potential energy surfaces by delivering consistent and sustainable implementations of the latest science on a diverse range of readily available and widely utilised software platforms.

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