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Computing the asymptotic spectrum for networks representing energy landscapes using the minimum spanning tree

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  • The concept of metastability has caused a lot of interest in recent years. The spectral decomposition of the generator matrix of a stochastic network exposes all of the transition processes in the system. The assumption of the existence of a low lying group of eigenvalues separated by a spectral gap has become a popular theme. We consider stochastic networks representing potential energy landscapes whose states and edges correspond to local minima and transition states respectively, and the pairwise transition rates are given by the Arrhenuis formula. Using the minimal spanning tree, we construct the asymptotics for eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the generator matrix starting from the low lying group. This construction gives rise to an efficient algorithm suitable for large and complex networks. We apply it to Wales's Lennard-Jones-38 network with 71887 states and 119853 edges where the underlying energy landscape has a double-funnel structure. Our results demonstrate that the concept of metastability should be applied with care to this system. For the full network, there is no significant spectral gap separating the eigenvalue corresponding to the exit from the wider and shallower icosahedral funnel at any reasonable temperature range. However, if the observation time is limited, the expected spectral gap appears.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: Primary: 65C50, 60J27; Secondary: 60J28.

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