The accelerated weight histogram method for alchemical free energy calculations

Lundborg, M.; Lidmar, J.; Hess, B.


The accelerated weight histogram method is an enhanced sampling technique used to explore free energy landscapes by applying an adaptive bias. The method is general and easy to extend. Herein, we show how it can be used to efficiently sample alchemical transformations, commonly used for, e.g., solvation and binding free energy calculations. We present calculations and convergence of the hydration free energy of testosterone, representing drug-like molecules. We also include methane and ethanol to validate the results. The protocol is easy to use, does not require a careful choice of parameters, and scales well to accessible resources, and the results converge at least as quickly as when using conventional methods. One benefit of the method is that it can easily be combined with other reaction coordinates, such as intermolecular distances.