6. Add-On Packages

In addition to the main OpenMM package, there are several other packages you can install to add extra features to OpenMM. In this chapter we will go over some of the most important ones, describe what they do, and provide references for where to get more information.

6.1. OpenMM-Torch

The OpenMM-Torch package provides an interface to the PyTorch machine learning framework. It lets you define new types of forces through PyTorch code. To install it, open a command-line terminal and type

conda install -c conda-forge openmm-torch

It provides a new class called TorchForce that you can add to a System. The interaction is defined by a PyTorch module that you write using ordinary Python code, then compile to TorchScript. The module should have a forward() method that takes the particle positions as input and returns the potential energy. Forces are computed through automatic differentiation.

Here is a minimal example of code that applies forces to particles using PyTorch. In this case it is a harmonic potential attracting every particle to the origin. It could just as easily be any other function of the positions.

import torch
from openmmtorch import TorchForce

class ForceModule(torch.nn.Module):
    def forward(self, positions):
        return torch.sum(positions**2)

module = torch.jit.script(ForceModule())
force = TorchForce(module)

Example 6-1

OpenMM-Torch has additional features beyond what is shown in this example. For example, it supports forces that use periodic boundary conditions, or modules that directly compute forces rather than relying on automatic differentiation. For more information, see the OpenMM-Torch website.

6.2. OpenMM-ML

OpenMM-ML is a higher level utility for modeling molecules with machine learning potentials. It provides a selection of standard, pre-trained potential functions that can be used much like force fields. To install it, open a command-line terminal and type

conda install -c conda-forge openmm-ml

It provides a class called Potential representing a machine learning potential function. To use it, specify the name of the potential function to use and call createSystem() on it to create a System from a Topology.

from openmmml import MLPotential

potential = MLPotential('ani2x')
system = potential.createSystem(topology)

Example 6-2

OpenMM-ML can also create mixed systems that are partly modeled with a machine learning potential and partly with a conventional force field. For more information, see the OpenMM-ML website.

6.3. OpenMMTools

OpenMMTools is a collection of Python utilities providing many useful functions. Examples include additional integrators, a framework for Markov chain Monte Carlo simulations, enhanced sampling methods such as replica exchange, and tools for alchemical simulations to calculate free energies. To install it, open a command-line terminal and type

conda install -c conda-forge openmmtools

For more information, see the OpenMMTools website.

6.4. OpenMM-HIP

This package adds a new platform that is implemented with AMD’s HIP framework. When running on AMD GPUs, it often has much faster performance than the OpenCL platform. For information about how to install it, see the OpenMM-HIP website. Once it is installed, the new platform can be selected and used exactly like the ones included in the main OpenMM package.

6.5. openmmforcefields

The openmmforcefields package is described in section 3.6.3, where we show how to use it to parametrize small molecules. In addition to its support for generic small molecule force fields like OpenFF and GAFF, it also provides a larger selection of Amber and CHARMM force fields than what is bundled with OpenMM. See the openmmforcefields website for more information.

6.6. OpenMM-PLUMED

PLUMED is a popular tool for computing collective variables of many sorts. The OpenMM-PLUMED package allows you to use PLUMED as a force in a simulation. To install it, open a command-line terminal and type

conda install -c conda-forge openmm-plumed

PLUMED uses text-based control scripts to define collective variables. This package provides a new force class called PlumedForce that takes a PLUMED script and returns the value of the collective variable it defines as its energy. For example, this code uses PLUMED to perform metadynamics based on the distance between particles 0 and 9.

from openmmplumed import PlumedForce

script = """
force = PlumedForce(script)

Example 6-3

Be aware that PLUMED numbers atoms starting at 1, unlike OpenMM which numbers them starting at 0. That is why the script lists the atoms as 1 and 10 rather than 0 and 9.

For more information, see the websites for the OpenMM-PLUMED package and the PLUMED library.