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Machine-learning-based dynamic-importance sampling for adaptive multiscale simulations


Multiscale simulations are a well-accepted way to bridge the length and time scales required for scientific studies with the solution accuracy achievable through available computational resources. Traditional approaches either solve a coarse model with selective refinement or coerce a detailed model into faster sampling, both of which have limitations. Here, we present a paradigm of adaptive, multiscale simulations that couple different scales using a dynamic-importance sampling approach. Our method uses machine learning to dynamically and exhaustively sample the phase space explored by a macro model using microscale simulations and enables an automatic feedback from the micro to the macro scale, leading to a self-healing multiscale simulation. As a result, our approach delivers macro length and time scales, but with the effective precision of the micro scale. Our approach is arbitrarily scalable as well as transferable to many different types of simulations. Our method made possible a multiscale scientific campaign of unprecedented scale to understand the interactions of RAS proteins with a plasma membrane in the context of cancer research running over several days on Sierra, which is currently the second-most-powerful supercomputer in the world.

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Fig. 1: ML-based DynIm sampling framework.
Fig. 2: Patches represent concentrations of lipids on 30 × 30 nm2 local neighbourhoods of RAS discretized into 5 × 5 grids.
Fig. 3: Event history of our ML-based DynIm sampling for a period of 14 days of wall-clock time.
Fig. 4: Evaluation and comparison of DynIm sampling.
Fig. 5: The self-healing mechanism enabled by the in situ computation of DynIm weights allows refinement of macro model parameters, such as RAS−lipid RDFs, by appropriately aggregating the results of micro scale simulations.
Fig. 6: Convergence of DynIm sampling.

Data availability

Sample data for DynIm is also made available along with the code repository. The data related to the multiscale simulation described in the paper will be made available upon reasonable request; the size of all raw data is hundreds of terabytes. For more information, please see details of the simulation14

Code availability

The framework for DynIm has been released open source under the MIT license:


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This work has been supported in part by the Joint Design of Advanced Computing Solutions for Cancer (JDACS4C) programme established by the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For computing time, we thank Livermore Computing (LC) and Livermore Institutional Grand Challenge. This work was performed under the auspices of the US DOE by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under contract DE-AC52-07NA27344 and Los Alamos National Laboratory under contract DEAC5206NA25396. Release number: LLNL-JRNL-806073.

Author information




The framework was designed by H.B., T.S.C., H.I.I., G.D., B.V.E., J.N.G., P.-T.B. and F.C.L.; the framework was implemented by H.B. Sampling analysis was done by H.B., P.K., S.L., T.O. and C.N. All authors contributed to the writing of the paper.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Harsh Bhatia.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review informationNature Machine Intelligence thanks Shangying Wang, and the other anonymous reviewer(s), for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Fig. 1 and one algorithm.

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Bhatia, H., Carpenter, T.S., Ingólfsson, H.I. et al. Machine-learning-based dynamic-importance sampling for adaptive multiscale simulations. Nat Mach Intell (2021).

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