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The paper surveys recent progress in the mathematical modelling and simulation of essential molecular dynamics. Particular emphasis is put on computational drug design wherein time scales of $msec$ up to $min$ play the dominant role. Classical long-term molecular dynamics computations, however, would run into ill-conditioned initial value problems already after time spans of only $psec=10^{-12} sec$. Therefore, in order to obtain results for times of pharmaceutical interest, a combined deterministic-stochastic model is needed. The concept advocated in this paper is the direct identification of metastable conformations together with their life times and their transition patterns. It can be interpreted as a {\em transfer operator} approach corresponding to some underlying hybrid Monte Carlo process, wherein short-term trajectories enter. Once this operator has been discretized, which is a hard problem of its own, a stochastic matrix arises. This matrix is then treated by {\em Perron cluster analysis}, a recently developed cluster analysis method involving the numerical solution of an eigenproblem for a Perron cluster of eigenvalues. In order to avoid the 'curse of dimension', the construction of appropriate boxes for the spatial discretization of the Markov operator requires careful consideration. As a biomolecular example we present a rather recent SARS protease inhibitor.

In molecular dynamics applications there is a growing interest in mixed quantum-classical models. The article is concerned with the so-called QCMD model. This model describes most atoms of the molecular system by the means of classical mechanics but an important, small portion of the system by the means of a wavefunction. We review the conditions under which the QCMD model is known to approximate the full quantum dynamical evolution of the system. In most quantum-classical simulations the {\em Born-Oppenheimer model} (BO) is used. In this model, the wavefunction is adiabatically coupled to the classical motion which leads to serious approximation deficiencies with respect to non-adiabatic effects in the fully quantum dynamical description of the system. In contrast to the BO model, the QCMD model does include non-adiabatic processes, e.g., transitions between the energy levels of the quantum system. It is demonstrated that, in mildly non-adiabatic scenarios, so-called {\em surface hopping} extensions of QCMD simulations yield good approximations of the non-adiabatic effects in full quantum dynamics. The algorithmic strategy of such extensions of QCMD is explained and the crucial steps of its realization are discussed with special emphasis on the numerical problems caused by highly oscillatory phase effects.

Recently, a novel concept for the computation of essential features of the dynamics of Hamiltonian systems (such as molecular dynamics) has been proposed. The realization of this concept had been based on subdivision techniques applied to the Frobenius--Perron operator for the dynamical system. The present paper suggests an alternative but related concept that merges the conceptual advantages of the dynamical systems approach with the appropriate statistical physics framework. This approach allows to define the phrase ``conformation'' in terms of the dynamical behavior of the molecular system and to characterize the dynamical stability of conformations. In a first step, the frequency of conformational changes is characterized in statistical terms leading to the definition of some Markov operator $T$ that describes the corresponding transition probabilities within the canonical ensemble. In a second step, a discretization of $T$ via specific hybrid Monte Carlo techniques is shown to lead to a stochastic matrix $P$. With these theoretical preparations, an identification algorithm for conformations is applicable. It is demonstrated that the discretization of $T$ can be restricted to few essential degrees of freedom so that the combinatorial explosion of discretization boxes is prevented and biomolecular systems can be attacked. Numerical results for the n-pentane molecule and the triribonucleotide adenylyl\emph{(3'-5')}cytidylyl\emph{(3'-5')}cytidin are given and interpreted.

The Car-Parrinello (CP) approach to ab initio molecular dynamics serves as an approximation to time-dependent Born-Oppenheimer (BO) calculations. It replaces the explicit minimization of the energy functional by a fictitious Newtonian dynamics and therefore introduces an artificial mass parameter $\mu$ which controls the electronic motion. A recent theoretical investigation shows that the CP-error, i.e., the deviation of the CP--solution from the BO-solution {\em decreases} like $\mu^{1/2}$ asymptotically. Since the computational effort {\em increases} like $\mu^{-1/2}$, the choice of $\mu$ has to find a compromise between efficiency and accuracy. The asymptotical result is used in this paper to construct an easily implemented algorithm which automatically controls $\mu$: the parameter $\mu$ is repeatedly adapted during the simulation by choosing $\mu$ as large as possible while pushing an error measure below a user-given tolerance. The performance and reliability of the algorithm is illustrated by a typical example.

The function of many important biomolecules is related to their dynamic properties and their ability to switch between different {\em conformations}, which are understood as {\em almost invariant} or {\em metastable} subsets of the positional state space of the system. Recently, the present authors and their coworkers presented a novel algorithmic scheme for the direct numerical determination of such metastable subsets and the transition probability between them. Although being different in most aspects, this method exploits the same basic idea as {\sc Dellnitz} and {\sc Junge} in their approach to almost invariance in discrete dynamical systems: the almost invariant sets are computed via certain eigenvectors of the Markov operators associated with the dynamical behavior. In the present article we analyze the application of this approach to (high--friction) Langevin models describing the dynamical behavior of molecular systems coupled to a heat bath. We will see that this can be related to theoretical results for (symmetric) semigroups of Markov operators going back to {\sc Davies}. We concentrate on a comparison of our approach in respect to random perturbations of dynamical systems.

In Quantum Chemistry the field of Laser--Assisted Molecular Control'' has received a considerable amount of attention recently. One key problem in this new field is the simulation of the dynamical reaction of a molecule subjected to external radiation. This problem is described by the Schrödinger equation, which, after eigenfunction expansion, can be written in the form of a large system of ordinary differential equations, the solutions of which show a highly oscillatory behaviour. The oscillations with high frequencies and small amplitudes confine the stepsizes of any numerical integrator -- an effect, which, in turn, blows up the simulation time. Larger stepsizes can be expected by averaging these fast oscillations, thus smoothing the trajectories. Standard smoothing techniques (averaging, filtering) would kill the whole process and thus, lead to wrong numerical results. To avoid this unwanted effect and nevertheless speed up computations, this paper presents a quasiresonant smoothing algorithm (QRS). In QRS, a natural splitting parameter $\delta$ controls the smoothing properties. An adaptive QRS--version (AQRS) is presented which includes an error estimation scheme for choosing this parameter $\delta$ in order to meet a given accuracy requirement. In AQRS $\delta$ is permanently adapted to the solution properties for computing the chemically necessary information'' only. The performance of AQRS is demonstrated in several test problems from the field Laser--Assisted Selective Excitation of Molecules'' in which the external radiation is a picosecond laser pulse. In comparison with standard methods speedup factors of the order of $10^2$ are observed.

In molecular dynamics applications there is a growing interest in mixed quantum-classical models. The {\em quantum-classical Liouville equation} (QCL) describes most atoms of the molecular system under consideration by means of classical phase space density but an important, small portion of the system by means of quantum mechanics. The QCL is derived from the full quantum dynamical (QD) description by applying the Wigner transform to the classical part'' of the system only. We discuss the conditions under which the QCL model approximates the full QD evolution of the system. First, analysis of the asymptotic properties of the Wigner transform shows that solving the QCL yields a first order approximation of full quantum dynamics. Second, we discuss the adiabatic limit of the QCL. This discussion shows that the QCL solutions may be interpretated as classical phase space densities, at least near the adiabatic limit. Third, it is demonstrated that the QCL yields good approximations of {\em non-adiabatic quantum effects,} especially near so-called {\em avoided crossings} where most quantum-classical models fail.

This paper presents a mathematical derivation of a model for quantum-classical molecular dynamics (QCMD) as a {\em partial} classical limit of the full Schrödinger equation. This limit is achieved in two steps: separation of the full wavefunction and short wave asymptotics for its ``classical'' part. Both steps can be rigorously justified under certain smallness assumptions. Moreover, the results imply that neither the time-dependent self-consistent field method nor mixed quantum-semi-classical models lead to better approximations than QCMD since they depend on the separation step, too. On the other hand, the theory leads to a characterization of the critical situations in which the models are in danger of largely deviating from the solution of the full Schrödinger equation. These critical situations are exemplified in an illustrative numerical simulation: the collinear collision of an Argon atom with a harmonic quantum oscillator.

The interaction potential of molecular systems which are typically used in molecular dynamics can be split into two parts of essentially different stiffness. The strong part of the potential forces the solution of the equations of motion to oscillate on a very small time scale. There is a strong need for eliminating the smallest time scales because they are a severe restriction for numerical long-term simulations of macromolecules. This leads to the idea of just freezing the high frequency degrees of freedom (bond stretching and bond angles). However, the naive way of doing this via holonomic constraints is bound to produce incorrect results. The paper presents a mathematically rigorous discussion of the limit situation in which the stiffness of the strong part of the potential is increased to infinity. It is demonstrated that the average of the limit solution indeed obeys a constrained Hamiltonian system but with a {\em corrected soft potential}. An explicit formula for the additive potential correction is given and its significant contribution is demonstrated in an illustrative example. It appears that this correcting potential is definitely not identical with the Fixman-potential as was repeatedly assumed in the literature.

It was revealed that the QCMD model is of canonical Hamiltonian form with symplectic structure, which implies the conservation of energy. An efficient and reliable integrator for transfering these properties to the discrete solution is the symplectic and explicit {\sc Pickaback} algorithm. The only drawback of this kind of integrator is the small stepsize in time induced by the splitting techniques used to discretize the quantum evolution operator. Recent investigations concerning Krylov iteration techniques result in alternative approaches which overcome this difficulty for a wide range of problems. By using iterative methods in the evaluation of the quantum time propagator, these techniques allow for the stepsize to adapt to the coupling between the classical and the quantum mechanical subsystem. This yields a drastic reduction of the numerical effort. The pros and cons of both approaches as well as the suitable applications are discussed in the last part.