Applied Mathematics & Optimization

, Volume 78, Issue 1, pp 103–144 | Cite as

A Large Deviations Analysis of Certain Qualitative Properties of Parallel Tempering and Infinite Swapping Algorithms

  • J. Doll
  • P. DupuisEmail author
  • P. Nyquist


Parallel tempering, or replica exchange, is a popular method for simulating complex systems. The idea is to run parallel simulations at different temperatures, and at a given swap rate exchange configurations between the parallel simulations. From the perspective of large deviations it is optimal to let the swap rate tend to infinity and it is possible to construct a corresponding simulation scheme, known as infinite swapping. In this paper we propose a novel use of large deviations for empirical measures for a more detailed analysis of the infinite swapping limit in the setting of continuous time jump Markov processes. Using the large deviations rate function and associated stochastic control problems we consider a diagnostic based on temperature assignments, which can be easily computed during a simulation. We show that the convergence of this diagnostic to its a priori known limit is a necessary condition for the convergence of infinite swapping. The rate function is also used to investigate the impact of asymmetries in the underlying potential landscape, and where in the state space poor sampling is most likely to occur.



J. Doll: Research supported in part by the National Science Foundation (DMS-1317199), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (W911NF-15-2-0122). P. Dupuis: Research supported in part by the Department of Energy (DE-SC0010539), the National Science Foundation (DMS-1317199), and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (W911NF-15-2-0122). P. Nyquist: Research supported in part by National Science Foundation (DMS-1317199).


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  2. 2.Division of Applied MathematicsBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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