LAMMPS NNP pair style

pair_style nnp command


pair_style nnp keyword value ...
  • zero or more keyword/value pairs may be appended

  • keyword = dir or showew or showewsum or maxew or resetew or cflength or cfenergy

  • value depends on the preceding keyword:

    • emap value = mapping

      mapping = Element mapping from LAMMPS atom types to n2p2 elements

    • dir value = directory

      directory = Path to NNP configuration files

    • showew value = yes or no

    • showewsum value = summary

      summary = Write EW summary every this many timesteps (0 turns summary off)

    • maxew value = threshold

      threshold = Maximum number of EWs allowed

    • resetew value = yes or no

    • cflength value = length

      length = Length unit conversion factor

    • cfenergy value = energy

      energy = Energy unit conversion factor


pair_style nnp showew yes showewsum 100 maxew 1000 resetew yes cflength 1.8897261328 cfenergy 0.0367493254 emap "1:H,2:O"

pair_style nnp dir "./" showewsum 10000

pair_coeff * * 6.01


Only use a single pair_style nnp line in your LAMMPS script.


This pair style adds an interaction based on the high-dimensional neural network potential method 1. These potentials must be carefully trained to reproduce the potential energy surface in the desired phase-space region prior to their usage in an MD simulation. This pair style uses an interface to the NNP library 2 3, see the documentation there for more information.

The maximum cutoff radius of all symmetry functions is the only argument of the pair_coeff command which should be invoked with asterisk wild-cards only:

pair_coeff * * cutoff


The cutoff must be given in LAMMPS length units, even if the neural network potential has been trained using a different unit system (see remarks about the cflength and cfenergy keywords below for details).

The numeric value may be slightly larger than the actual maximum symmetry function cutoff radius (to account for rounding errors when converting units), but must not be smaller.

If provided, the keyword emap determines the mapping from LAMMPS atom types to n2p2 elements. The format is a comma-separated list of atom type:element pairs, e.g. "1:Cu,2:Zn" will map atom types 1 and 2 to elements Cu and Zn, respectively. Atom types not present in the list will be completely ignored by the NNP. The keyword emap is mandatory in a “hybrid” setup (see pair_hybrid) with “extra” atom types in the simulation which are not handled by the NNP.


Without an explicit mapping it is by default assumed that the atom type specifications in LAMMPS configuration files are consistent with the ordering of elements in the NNP library. Thus, without the emap keyword present atom types must be sorted in order of ascending atomic number, e.g. the only correct mapping for a configuration containing hydrogen, oxygen and zinc atoms would be:


Atomic number











Use the dir keyword to specify the directory containing the NNP configuration files. The directory must contain “input.nn” with neural network and symmetry function setup, “” with symmetry function scaling data and “weights.???.data” with weight parameters for each element.

The keyword showew can be used to turn on/off the display of extrapolation warnings (EWs) which are issued whenever a symmetry function value is out of bounds defined by minimum/maximum values in “”. An extrapolation warning may look like this:

### NNP EXTRAPOLATION WARNING ### STRUCTURE:      0 ATOM:       119 ELEMENT: Cu SYMFUNC:   32 TYPE:  3 VALUE:  2.166E-02 MIN:  2.003E-05 MAX:  1.756E-02

stating that the value 2.166E-02 of symmetry function 32 of type 3 (angular narrow), element Cu (see the log file for a symmetry function listing) was out of bounds (maximum in “” is 1.756E-02) for atom 119. Here, the atom index refers to the LAMMPS tag (global index) and the structure index is used to print out the MPI rank the atom belongs to.


The showew keyword should only be set to yes for debugging purposes. Extrapolation warnings may add lots of overhead as they are communicated each timestep. Also, if the simulation is run in a phase-space region where the NNP was not correctly trained, lots of extrapolation warnings may clog log files and the console. In a production run use showewsum instead.

The keyword showewsum can be used to get an overview of extrapolation warnings occurring during an MD simulation. The argument specifies the interval at which extrapolation warning summaries are displayed and logged. An EW summary may look like this:

### NNP EW SUMMARY ### TS:        100 EW         11 EWPERSTEP  1.100E-01

Here, at timestep 100 the occurrence of 11 extrapolation warnings since the last summary is reported, which corresponds to an EW rate of 0.11 per timestep. Setting showewsum to 0 deactivates the EW summaries.

A maximum number of allowed extrapolation warnings can be specified with the maxew keyword. If the number of EWs exceeds the maxew argument the simulation is stopped. Note however that this is merely an approximate threshold since the check is only performed at the end of each timestep and each MPI process counts individually to minimize communication overhead.

The keyword resetew alters the behavior of the above mentioned maxew threshold. If resetew is set to yes the threshold is applied on a per-timestep basis and the internal EW counters are reset at the beginning of each timestep. With resetew set to no the counters accumulate EWs along the whole trajectory.

If the training of a neural network potential has been performed with different physical units for length and energy than those set in LAMMPS, it is still possible to use the potential when the unit conversion factors are provided via the cflength and cfenergy keywords. If for example, the NNP was parameterized with Bohr and Hartree training data and symmetry function parameters (i.e. distances and energies in “input.nn” are given in Bohr and Hartree) but LAMMPS is set to use metal units (Angstrom and eV) the correct conversion factors are:

cflength 1.8897261328

cfenergy 0.0367493254

Thus, arguments of cflength and cfenergy are the multiplicative factors required to convert lengths and energies given in LAMMPS units to respective quantities in native NNP units (1 Angstrom = 1.8897261328 Bohr, 1 eV = 0.0367493254 Hartree).


Please report bugs and feature requests to the n2p2 GitHub issue page.


The default options are dir = “nnp/”, showew = yes, showewsum = 0, maxew = 0, resetew = no, cflength = 1.0, cfenergy = 1.0. The default atom type mapping is determined automatically according to ascending atomic number of present elements (see above).


Behler, J.; Parrinello, M. Generalized Neural-Network Representation of High-Dimensional Potential-Energy Surfaces. Phys. Rev. Lett. 2007, 98 (14), 146401.



Singraber, A.; Morawietz, T.; Behler, J.; Dellago, C. Parallel Multistream Training of High-Dimensional Neural Network Potentials. J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2019, 15 (5), 3075–3092.