A unified framework and performance benchmark of fourteen multiscale atomistic/continuum coupling methods
R. E. Miller and E. B. Tadmor
Modelling and Simulation in Materials Science and Engineering, 17, 053001 (2009).


A partitioned-domain multiscale method is a computational framework in which certain key regions are modeled atomistically while most of the domain is treated with an approximate continuum model (such as finite elements). The goal of such methods is to be able to reproduce the results of a fully atomistic simulation at a reduced computational cost. In recent years, a large number of partitioned-domain methods have been proposed. Theoretically, these methods appear very different to each other making comparison difficult. Surprisingly, it turns out that at the implementation level these methods are in fact very similar. In this paper, we present a unified framework in which fourteen leading multiscale methods can be represented as special cases.

We use this common framework as a platform to test the accuracy and efficiency of the fourteen methods on a test problem; the structure and motion of a Lomer dislocation dipole in face-centered cubic aluminum. This problem was carefully selected to be sufficiently simple to be quick to simulate and straightforward to analyze, but not so simple to unwittingly hide differences between methods. The analysis enables us to identify generic features in multiscale methods that correlate with either high or low accuracy and either fast or slow performance.

All tests were performed using a single unified computer code in which all fourteen methods are implemented. This code is being made available to the public along with this paper.