This is a helper tool for the training procedure which enables an optional data set normalization. Please have a look at this explanation why normalization may help to achieve consistent training results. A full description of the procedure is provided in section 3.1 in 1. In short, the normalization is achieved by subtracting a mean energy per atom and converting energy and length units in such way that the energies per atom and the forces have unit standard deviation. In practice, this requires three numbers which are computed from statistical characteristics of the data set:

  1. mean energy per atom (keyword mean_energy)

  2. energy unit conversion factor (keyword conv_energy)

  3. length unit conversion factor (keyword conv_length)

However, this tool will not actually apply the normalization to the data set but rather store the above numbers as keyword-value pairs in an additional header of the settings file. Other n2p2 tools will read them in, confirm the activation of the normalization in the log file and automatically apply unit conversion on-the-fly. No additional intervention by the user is required!


A data set with multiple configurations and a basic settings file are required:

  • input.data

  • input.nn

A working symmetry function setup in the settings file is not required, only basic information about elements is needed.



Sample screen output:

*** DATA SET NORMALIZATION ****************************************************

Writing energy/atom vs. volume/atom data to "evsv.dat".

Total number of structures: 20
Total number of atoms     : 2064
Mean/sigma energy per atom:  -2.33538240E-01 +/-   1.17415619E-03
Mean/sigma force          :  -8.55943153E-12 +/-   2.67687948E-02
Conversion factor energy  :   8.5167544626563699E+02
Conversion factor length  :   2.2798325235535355E+01

Writing converted data file to "output.data".
WARNING: This data set is provided for debugging purposes only and is NOT intended for training.

Writing backup of original settings file to "input.nn.bak".

Writing extended settings file to "input.nn".

Use this settings file for normalized training.

File output:

  • input.nn: The settings file with additional normalization header.

  • input.nn.bak: A backup of the original settings file without normalization keywords.

  • evsv.dat: Energies, volumes and atom numbers of all configurations in the data set.

  • output.data: The data set with normalization applied, only for debugging purposes.


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. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jctc.8b01092