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# mdi command¶

## Syntax¶

mdi option args

• option = engine or plugin or connect or exit

engine args = zero or more keyword/args pairs
keywords = elements
elements args = N_1 N_2 ... N_ntypes
N_1,N_2,...N_ntypes = atomic number for each of ntypes LAMMPS atom types
plugin args = name keyword value keyword value ...
name = name of plugin library (e.g., lammps means a liblammps.so library will be loaded)
keyword/value pairs in any order, some are required, some are optional
keywords = mdi or infile or extra or command
mdi value = args passed to MDI for driver to operate with plugins (required)
infile value = filename the engine will read at start-up (optional)
extra value = aditional command-line args to pass to engine library when loaded (optional)
command value = a LAMMPS input script command to execute (required)
connect args = none
exit args = none

## Examples¶

mdi engine
mdi engine elements 13 29
mdi plugin lammps mdi "-role ENGINE -name lammps -method LINK" &
infile in.aimd.engine extra "-log log.aimd.engine.plugin" &
command "run 5"
mdi connect
mdi exit


## Description¶

This command implements operations within LAMMPS to use the MDI Library <https://molssi-mdi.github.io/MDI_Library/html/index.html> for coupling to other codes in a client/server protocol.

See the Howto MDI doc page for a discussion of all the different ways 2 or more codes can interact via MDI.

The examples/mdi directory has examples which use LAMMPS in 4 different modes: as a driver using an engine as either a stand-alone code or as a plugin, and as an engine operating as either a stand-alone code or as a plugin. The README file in that directory shows how to launch and couple codes for all the 4 usage modes, and so they communicate via the MDI library using either MPI or sockets.

The scripts in that directory illustrate the use of all the options for this command.

The engine option enables LAMMPS to act as an MDI engine (server), responding to requests from an MDI driver (client) code.

The plugin option enables LAMMPS to act as an MDI driver (client), and load the MDI engine (server) code as a library plugin. In this case the MDI engine is a library plugin. An MDI engine can also be a stand-alone code, launched separately from LAMMPS, in which case the mdi plugin command is not used.

The connect and exit options are only used when LAMMPS is acting as an MDI driver. As explained below, these options are normally not needed, except for a specific kind of use case.

The mdi engine command is used to make LAMMPS operate as an MDI engine. It is typically used in an input script after LAMMPS has setup the system it is going to model consistent with what the driver code expects. Depending on when the driver code tells the LAMMPS engine to exit, other commands can be executed after this command, but typically it is used at the end of a LAMMPS input script.

To act as an MDI engine operating as an MD code (or surrogate QM code), this is the list of standard MDI commands issued by a driver code which LAMMPS currently recognizes. Using standard commands defined by the MDI library means that a driver code can work interchangeably with LAMMPS or other MD codes or with QM codes which support the MDI standard. See more details about these commands in the MDI library documentation

These commands are valid at the @DEFAULT node defined by MDI. Commands that start with “>” mean the driver is sending information to LAMMPS. Commands that start with “<” are requests by the driver for LAMMPS to send it information. Commands that start with an alphabetic letter perform actions. Commands that start with “@” are MDI “node” commands, which are described further below.

Command name

Action

>CELL or <CELL

Send/request 3 simulation box edge vectors (9 values)

>CELL_DISPL or <CELL_DISPL

Send/request displacement of the simulation box from the origin (3 values)

>CHARGES or <CHARGES

Send/request charge on each atom (N values)

>COORDS or <COORDS

Send/request coordinates of each atom (3N values)

>ELEMENTS

Send elements (atomic numbers) for each atom (N values)

<ENERGY

Request total energy (potential + kinetic) of the system (1 value)

>FORCES or <FORCES

Send/request forces on each atom (3N values)

>+FORCES

Send forces to add to each atom (3N values)

<LABELS

Request string label of each atom (N values)

<MASSES

Request mass of each atom (N values)

MD

Perform an MD simulation for N timesteps (most recent >NSTEPS value)

OPTG

Perform an energy minimization to convergence (most recent >TOLERANCE values)

>NATOMS or <NATOMS

Sends/request number of atoms in the system (1 value)

>NSTEPS

Send number of timesteps for next MD dynamics run via MD command

<PE

Request potential energy of the system (1 value)

<STRESS

Request symmetric stress tensor (virial) of the system (9 values)

>TOLERANCE

Send 4 tolerance parameters for next MD minimization via OPTG command

>TYPES or <TYPES

Send/request the LAMMPS atom type for each atom (N values)

>VELOCITIES or <VELOCITIES

Send/request the velocity of each atom (3N values)

@INIT_MD or @INIT_OPTG

Driver tells LAMMPS to start single-step dynamics or minimization (see below)

EXIT

Driver tells LAMMPS to exit engine mode

Note

The <ENERGY, <FORCES, <PE, and <STRESS commands trigger LAMMPS to compute atomic interactions for the current configuration of atoms and size/shape of the simulation box. I.e. LAMMPS invokes its pair, bond, angle, …, kspace styles. If the driver is updating the atom coordinates and/or box incrementally (as in an MD simulation which the driver is managing), then the LAMMPS engine will do the same, and only occasionally trigger neighbor list builds. If the change in atom positions is large (since the previous >COORDS command), then LAMMPS will do a more expensive operation to migrate atoms to new processors as needed and re-neighbor. If the >NATOMS or >TYPES or >ELEMENTS commands have been sent (since the previous >COORDS command), then LAMMPS assumes the system is new and re-initializes an entirely new simulation.

Note

The >TYPES or >ELEMENTS commands are how the MDI driver tells the LAMMPS engine which LAMMPS atom type to assign to each atom. If both the MDI driver and the LAMMPS engine are initialized so that atom type values are consistent in both codes, then the >TYPES command can be used. If not, the optional elements keyword can be used to specify what element each LAMMPS atom type corresponds to. This is specified by the atomic number of the element (e.g., 13 for Al). An atomic number must be specified for each of the ntypes LAMMPS atom types. Ntypes is typically specified via the create_box command or in the data file read by the read_data command. In this has been done, the MDI driver can send an >ELEMENTS command to the LAMMPS driver with the atomic number of each atom.

The MD and OPTG commands perform an entire MD simulation or energy minimization (to convergence) with no communication from the driver until the simulation is complete. By contrast, the @INIT_MD and @INIT_OPTG commands allow the driver to communicate with the engine at each timestep of a dynamics run or iteration of a minimization; see more info below.

The MD command performs a simulation using the most recent >NSTEPS value. The OPTG command performs a minimization using the 4 convergence parameters from the most recent >TOLERANCE command. The 4 parameters sent are those used by the minimize command in LAMMPS: etol, ftol, maxiter, and maxeval.

The mdi engine command also implements the following custom MDI commands which are LAMMPS-specific. These commands are also valid at the @DEFAULT node defined by MDI:

• Command name

• Action

• >NBYTES

• Send # of datums in a subsequent command (1 value)

• >COMMAND

• Send a LAMMPS input script command as a string (Nbytes in length)

• >COMMANDS

• Send multiple LAMMPS input script commands as a newline-separated string (Nbytes in length)

• >INFILE

• Send filename of an input script to execute (filename Nbytes in length)

• <KE

• Request kinetic energy of the system (1 value)

Note that other custom commands can easily be added if these are not sufficient to support what a user-written driver code needs. Code to support new commands can be added to the MDI package within LAMMPS, specifically to the src/MDI/mdi_engine.cpp file.

MDI also defines a standard mechanism for the driver to request that an MD engine (LAMMPS) perform a dynamics simulation one step at a time or an energy minimization one iteration at a time. This is so that the driver can (optionally) communicate with LAMMPS at intermediate points of the timestep or iteration by issuing MDI node commands which start with “@”.

To tell LAMMPS to run dynamics in single-step mode, the driver sends as @INIT_MD command followed by the these commands. The driver can interact with LAMMPS at 3 node locations within each timestep: @COORDS, @FORCES, @ENDSTEP:

• Command name

• Action

• @COORDS

• Proceed to next @COORDS node = post-integrate location in LAMMPS timestep

• @FORCES

• Proceed to next @FORCES node = post-force location in LAMMPS timestep

• @ENDSTEP

• Proceed to next @ENDSTEP node = end-of-step location in LAMMPS timestep

• @DEFAULT

• EXIT

• Driver tells LAMMPS to exit the MD simulation and engine mode

To tell LAMMPS to run an energy minimization in single-iteration mode. The driver can interact with LAMMPS at 2 node locations within each iteration of the minimizer: @COORDS, @FORCES:

• Command name

• Action

• @COORDS

• Proceed to next @COORDS node = min-pre-force location in LAMMPS min iteration

• @FORCES

• Proceed to next @FORCES node = min-post-force location in LAMMPS min iteration

• @DEFAULT

• EXIT

• Driver tells LAMMPS to exit the minimization and engine mode

While LAMMPS is at its @COORDS node, the following standard MDI commands are supported, as documented above: >COORDS or <COORDS, @COORDS, @FORCES, @ENDSTEP, @DEFAULT, EXIT.

While LAMMPS is at its @FORCES node, the following standard MDI commands are supported, as documented above: <COORDS, <ENERGY, >FORCES or >+FORCES or <FORCES, <KE, <PE, <STRESS, @COORDS, @FORCES, @ENDSTEP, @DEFAULT, EXIT.

While LAMMPS is at its @ENDSTEP node, the following standard MDI commands are supported, as documented above: <ENERGY, <FORCES, <KE, <PE, <STRESS, @COORDS, @FORCES, @ENDSTEP, @DEFAULT, EXIT.

The mdi plugin command is used to make LAMMPS operate as an MDI driver which loads an MDI engine as a plugin library. It is typically used in an input script after LAMMPS has setup the system it is going to model consistent with the engine code.

The name argument specifies which plugin library to load. A name like “lammps” is converted to a filename liblammps.so. The path for where this file is located is specified by the -plugin_path switch within the -mdi command-line switch, which is specified when LAMMPS is launched. See the examples/mdi/README files for examples of how this is done.

The mdi keyword is required and is used as the -mdi argument passed to the library when it is launched. The -role and -method settings are required. The -name setting can be anything you choose. MDI drivers and engines can query their names to verify they are values they expect.

The infile keyword is optional. It sets the name of an input script which the engine will open and process. MDI will pass it as a command-line argument to the library when it is launched. The file typically contains settings that an MD or QM code will use for its calculations.

The extra keyword is optional. It contains additional command-line arguments which MDI will pass to the library when it is launched.

The command keyword is required. It specifies a LAMMPS input script command (as a single argument in quotes if it is multiple words). Once the plugin library is launched, LAMMPS will execute this command. Other previously-defined commands in the input script, such as the fix mdi/qm command, should perform MDI communication with the engine, while the specified command executes. Note that if command is an include command, then it could specify a filename with multiple LAMMPS commands.

Note

When the command is complete, LAMMPS will send an MDI EXIT command to the plugin engine and the plugin will be removed. The “mdi plugin” command will then exit and the next command (if any) in the LAMMPS input script will be processed. A subsequent “mdi plugin” command could then load the same or a different MDI plugin if desired.

The mdi connect and mdi exit commands are only used when LAMMPS is operating as an MDI driver. And when other LAMMPS command(s) which send MDI commands and associated data to/from the MDI engine are not able to initiate and terminate the connection to the engine code.

The only current MDI driver command in LAMMPS is the fix mdi/qm command. If it is only used once in an input script then it can initiate and terminate the connection, but if it is being issued multiple times (e.g., in a loop that issues a clear command), then it cannot initiate or terminate the connection multiple times. Instead, the mdi connect and mdi exit commands should be used outside the loop to initiate or terminate the connection.

See the examples/mdi/in.series.driver script for an example of how this is done. The LOOP in that script is reading a series of data file configurations and passing them to an MDI engine (e.g., quantum code) for energy and force evaluation. A clear command inside the loop wipes out the current system so a new one can be defined. This operation also destroys all fixes. So the fix mdi/qm command is issued once per loop iteration. Note that it includes a “connect no” option which disables the initiate/terminate logic within that fix.

## Restrictions¶

This command is part of the MDI package. It is only enabled if LAMMPS was built with that package. See the Build package page for more info.

To use LAMMPS in conjunction with other MDI-enabled atomistic codes, the units command should be used to specify real or metal units. This will ensure the correct unit conversions between LAMMPS and MDI units, which the other codes will also perform in their preferred units.

LAMMPS can also be used as an MDI engine in other unit choices it supports (e.g., lj), but then no unit conversion is performed.

None