Topological obstructions in the way of data-driven collective variables

Author (s): Hashemian, B. ; and Arroyo, M.
Journal: The Journal of Chemical Physics
Volume: 142
Date: 2015

Nonlinear dimensionality reduction (NLDR) techniques are increasingly used to visualize molecular trajectories and to create data-driven collective variables for enhanced sampling simulations. The success of these methods relies on their ability to identify the essential degrees of freedom characterizing conformational changes. Here, we show that NLDR methods face serious obstacles when the underlying collective variables present periodicities, e.g., arising from proper dihedral angles. As a result, NLDR methods collapse very distant configurations, thus leading to misinterpretations and inefficiencies in enhanced sampling. Here, we identify this largely overlooked problem and discuss possible approaches to overcome it. We also characterize the geometry and topology of conformational changes of alanine dipeptide, a benchmark system for testing new methods to identify collective variables.


   author = "Hashemian, B. and Arroyo, M.",
   title = "Topological obstructions in the way of data-driven collective variables",
   journal = "The Journal of Chemical Physics",
   year = "2015",
   volume = "142",
   number = "4", 
   eid = 044102,
   pages = "",
   url = "http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/jcp/142/4/10.1063/1.4906425",
   doi = "http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4906425"