CHARMM c24 usage.doc

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Top
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                          How to use CHARMM

        The user of CHARMM controls its execution by executing commands
sequentially from a command file or interactivly. In general the ordering
of commands is limited only by the data required by the command.
For example, the energy cannot be calculated unless the arrays holding
the coordinates, the parameters, etc., have already been filled.

        This section deals with overall usage, as opposed to the
detailed description of any given command. This is a good place to
start when first learning CHARMM.

* Menu:

* Meta-Syntax::         Describing the Syntax of Commands
* Command Syntax::      Rules for composing command input files.
* Run Control::         Ways to modify control flow and stream switching.
* I/O Units::           Correspondence between files and unit numbers
                        used by CHARMM.
* AKMA::                Units of Measurement used in CHARMM
* Data Structures::     Data Structures used by CHARMM
* Standard Files::      Descriptions of parameters, topologies, and
                        coordinates available.
* Examples::            Sample runs
* Interface::           How to make your own private version of CHARMM
* Syntactic Glossary::  Glossary of syntactic terms
* Glossary::            Glossary of non-syntactic terms.

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Meta-Syntax
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            Rules for Describing the Syntax (The Meta-Syntax)

        The syntax of commands is described using the following rules:
Capitalized words are keywords that must be specified as is. However, if
the word is partially capitalized, it may be abbreviated to the
capitalized part. Lower case words are to be replaced by a corresponding
data entry. The symbol "::=" means "has the following syntactic form:".
Anything enclosed in square brackets, "[]", is optional. If several
things are stacked in square brackets, one may choose one optionally.
Anything enclosed in curly brackets, "{}", specifies that a selection
must be made of the choices stacked vertically inside. The syntactic
entities which appear as an argument to "repeat" may be repeated any
number (including zero) times. Defaults for optional parameters may be
enclosed in apostrophes and placed under the entity they stand for.
However, defaults are not specified in this manner if the rules for the
default are complex.

        The syntactic glossary, see *note glossary: Syntactic Glossary,
contains further syntactic entities which are used in the command
descriptions. Finally, the options and operands in each command can
usually be specified in any order except if otherwise noted.

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Command Syntax
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                    Command language rules and lore

        A CHARMM run is controlled by a command file (or files).
This section of the documentation describes the basic rules for
the command file.  Details of command level run control are described
in the next node.

        A command file for CHARMM should begin with a specification of
the title of the run. (See the syntactic glossary, *note syn: syntactic
glossary, for the syntax of a title.) Then, any number of commands may
be specified.

        Each command consists of a command line possibly followed by
other data. The command line is scanned free field. This command line
may be longer than one line in the file; to do this, one must place a
hyphen at the end of line which is to be continued on the next line.
Comments may be placed on a command line by preceding the comments by
exclamation points. All lower case characters are converted to upper
case. This format is identical to that used by the VAX command language
interpreter. In addition, blank lines are permitted to separate blocks
of commands for increased readability.

        The first word of every command line specifies the command.
Generally, required operands of a command must follow in order.
On the other hand, options may generally be specified in any
order. Further, any number is always preceded by a key word so that any
numeric operands, can be placed in arbitrary order.

        The command line is scanned in units of words and delimited
strings. A word is defined by a sequence of non-blank characters, A
delimited string consists of a keyword followed by a string of
characters of variable length followed by a delimiter string.
One example of where a delimeter string is used is in atom selection
where the syntax is;  SELE ...... END. Note, that the "END" is required and
delimits the atom selection.

        Abbreviations are permitted in various contexts. The first word
may be abbreviated to four characters and numerous options and operands
may also be abbreviated to four characters. However, some key words which
are used to mark numbers may not be abbreviated. See the processing for
individual commands to see what can and cannot be abbreviated.

        Many of the various options and numeric values are maintained
from one invocation of a command to the next. Once a value is specified,
it is maintained until it is changed in any command. Therefore, if CUTNB
is specified in a NBON command, that value will be used in the DYNA
command unless it is changed therein.

        Usually, when a free field command line is read in, it is
echoed onto a standard output. Each such echo will be prepended by a short
marker, eg. "CHARMM>", which identifies the line of input as well as the
command processor which is interpreting it.

        In general, as each of the command is interpreted, it is deleted
from the command line. When command processing is finished, a check is
made to see that nothing is left over. The presence of extraneous junk
indicates that something was mistyped. For some commands, such as DYNAmics,
where a mistake may be costly, extraneous characters result in a fatal

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Run Control
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                Controlling a CHARMM Run

        IF command-parameter test-spec comparison-string command-spec

        GOTO label-string

        LABEL label-string

        STREAM [UNIT integer]


        SET command-parameter string

        INCRement command-parameter [BY real]

        DECRement command-parameter [BY real]

        This node describes commands that are used to modify the usual
sequential interpretation of commands from the command file.  Three
methods are available to accomplish this: 

        IF tests to conditionally execute a single command
        GOTO and LABEL transfers within a file
        STREAM and RETURN transfers to different command files.

In addition commands can be modified by the use of command parameters.
The command line reader scans input lines for parameters (specified by
@n where n is an alphanumeric character) and will subsitute the
appropriate parameter string.  Command parameters are defined using
the SET command to set one of the 36 command parameters, and their
values (if numeric) can be modified by the INCRement command, which
decodes the parameter string, does real arithmetic and encodes the
result.  The command parameters are identified by alphanumeric
characters (0-9,A(a)-Z(z)(not case-sensitive)).

        IF compares the string in the specified parameter string
to the comparison-string using the test-spec (GT GE EQ NE LE LT).
If the comparison is true then the rest of the command line is
executed (otherwise it is ignored).  The EQ and NE comparisons are
done as string comparisons, but the others require decoding of the
two strings and comparison by real arithmetic.  The command-spec
can be any valid command line (including another IF test or
a GOTO or STREAM specification).

        GOTO causes the current command file to be rewound and
searched for a line containing the correct LABEL and label-string.
The label-string is a single word.  If multiple occurrences of a
label are present, the first will be used.  Command interpretation
begins on the line following the LABEL (any information after the
LABEL keyword and label-string is ignored).

        STREAM iunit begins reading commands from the specified
fortran logical unit or from the stream file.  The stream file is
treated exactly as the main command file.  It begins with a title and
ends with a STOP or RETURN, the latter causing control to return to
the previously active command file at the point where the stream
switch occurred.

        The logical unit in OPEN, CLOSE, and REWIND commands are
useful in working with streams see *note MISCOM:(miscom.doc).


* This is a sample command file for CHARMM which calls a stream file
* to build a structure and then maps out an adiabatic potential
* surface defined by a pair of dihedrals
OPEN UNIT 10 READ FORM NAME makestruc.inp
SET 1 -180.
SET 2 -180.
CONS DIHE first-dihedral-angle-spec  FORCE 100.0 MIN @1
CONS DIHE second-dihedral-angle-spec FORCE 100.0 MIN @2
MINI minimization-spec
INCR 1 BY 30.0
SET 1 -180.
INCR 2 BY 30.0

File: Usage ]-[ Node: I/O Units
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                    Fortran I/O Units Usage by CHARMM

        In order to keep CHARMM as machine independent as possible, all
specification of files is done through Fortran unit numbers.  Two unit
numbers have special signifigance, 5 and 6.  Unit 5 is the command file
interpreted by CHARMM.  Unit 6 is the output file for all printed
messages.  As commands are read from unit 5, they are echoed on unit 6.
All other unit numbers have no predefined meaning. The CHARMM OPEN
command may be used to assign files to units.

        The tream file in "STREAM file-specfication" may be assigned
to a logical unit between 100 and 119 (80 and 99 on Cray machines).
Logical unit 0 through 9 may be used for CHARMM internal file
handling.  We recommend logical units 10 through 79 for user data

File: Usage ]-[ Node: AKMA
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                The CHARMM system of units: AKMA.

        CHARMM uses a distinct system of units, the AKMA system. I.e.
Angstroms, Kilocalories/Mole, Atomic mass units. All distances are
measured in Angstroms, energies in kcal/mole, mass in atomic mass units,
and charge is in units of electron charge. Using this system, the AMKA
unit of time is 4.888821E-14 seconds (based on the constants tabulated
in Abramowitz and Stegun (1970)), however, for all input and output,
the time is listed in picoseconds (20 AKMA time units is .978 picoseconds).
In some places, the users may specify values in AKMA time units, and
in some places both picosecond and AKMA time are output.

        Angles are given in degrees for the analysis and constraint
sections. In parameter files, the minimum positions of angles are
specified in degrees, but the force constants for angles, dihedrals, and
dihedral constraints are specified in kcal/mole/radian/radian.

        Any numbers used in the documentation may be assumed to be in
AKMA units unless otherwise noted.

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Data Structures
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                Data Structures You Should Understand

        There are a number of data structures that CHARMM manipulates.
Many of these data structures are important for most operations; others
which are less important, are described with the commands that use them.
Much more specific information is available in the various common blocks
whose extension is .fcm in the source directory, ~/charmm/source/fcm

        The important data structures are given below: Each data
structure name is followed by its abbreviation which is used as its name
in commands.

        1) Residue Topology File (RTF)
           The residue topology file stores the definitions of all
           residues. The atoms, atomic properties, bonds, bond angles,
           torsion angles, improper torsion angles, hydrogen bond donors
           and acceptors and antecedents, and non-bonded exclusions are
           all specified on a per residue basis. The term "residue" is
           somewhat historical, but can be any basic unit.

        2) The Parameters (PARA or PARM)
           The parameters specify the force constants, equilibrium
           geometries, van der Waals radii, and other such data needed
           for calculating the energy.

        3) Structure File (PSF)
           The structure file is the concatenation of
           information in the RTF. It specifies the information for the
           entire structure. It has a hierarchical organization wherein
           atoms are grouped into residues which are grouped into
           segments which comprise the structure. Each atom is uniquely
           identified within a residue by its IUPAC name, residue
           identifier, and its segment identifier. Identifiers may be up
           to 4 characters in length.

        4) The Internal Coordinates (IC)
           The internal coordinates data structure contains information
           concerning the relative positions of atoms within a structure.
           This data structure is most commonly used to build or modify
           cartesian coordinates from known or desired internal coordinate
           values. It is also used in conjunction with the analysis of
           normal modes. Since there are complete editing facilities,
           it can be used as a simple but powerful method of examining
           or analyzing structures.

        5) The Coordinates (COOR)
           The coordinates are the Cartesian coordinates for all the
           atoms in the PSF. There are two sets of coordinates provided.
           The main set is the default used for all operations involving
           the positions of the atoms. A comparison set (also called the
           reference set) is provided for a variety of purposes, such as
           a reference for rotation or operations which involve
           differences between coordinates for a particular molecule.
           Associated with each coordinate set is a general purpose
           weighting array (one element for each atom).

        6) The Non-bonded List (NBON)
           The non-bonded list contains the list of non-bonded
           interactions to be used in calculating the energies as well
           as optional information about the charge, dipole moment, and
           quadrapole moments of the residues. This data structure
           depends on the coordinates for its construction and must be
           periodically updated if the coordinates are being modified.

        7) The Hydrogen Bond List (HBON)
           The hydrogen bond list contains the list of hydrogen bonds.
           Like the non-bonded list, this data structure depends on the
           coordinates and must be periodically updated.

        8) The Constraints (CONS)
           There is a variety of available constraints. All data pertaining
           to constraints reside in this data structure.

        9) The Images data structure (IMAGES)
           The images data structure determines and defines the relative
           positions and orientations of any symmetric image of the primary
           molecule(s). The purpose of this data structure is to allow
           the simulation of crystal symmetry or the use of periodic
           boundary conditions. Also contined in this data structure is
           information concerning all nonbonded, H-bonds, and bonded
           interactions between primary and image atoms.

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Standard Files
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                    Files available for general use

        There are number of residue topology files, parameter files,
coordinates files and files of other data structures available. The most
important files generally available are residue topology and parameter
files. Both such classes of files are stored for general use in the
CnnPT: directories. The file names used for both these files
consists of an alphabetic part followed by a number, e.g. PARAM7.
There are two copies of each file; one with extension, .INP, which is a
character files used as an command file to generate the binary file,
with extension, .MOD. The .INP is meant for human eyes; the .MOD files
is meant for CHARMM to read efficiently. The numeric part of each name
is its version number. In general, one should use the highest version
number of a file.

        Although parameter files and toplogy files are separate,
they are usually associated, and they must be taken together when
generating a structure (PSF). For example, a parameter set for proteins
will not work with a DNA topology file.

        For information on the general use of directories, and the files
they contain, see the following sections.

* Menu:

* Parameters: (parmfile.doc). Description of all the parameter files
* Residue:    (rtop.doc).     Description of the topology files (RTF)

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Examples
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                          Sample CHARMM Runs

        For an example of specification of a CHARMM run, examine a
test case in ~/charmm/test.  The file, TEST.INP, is an input to
CHARMM which performs the test and contains examples of many commands.
The file, TEST.OUT, contains the output from CHARMM produced on Fortran
unit 6.  Other test cases are found in the test directory.

File:Usage ]-[ Node: Interface
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                          Interfacing to CHARMM

        A mechanism has been provided to allow users of the
CHARMM to write their own special purpose subroutines which can be
incorporated into the system without threatening its integrity.

        There are six "hooks" into the CHARMM which have been
specially provided for casual modifiers. For detailed descriptions of
each of these hooks, consult the routine in
        ~/charmm/source/main/usersb.src on UNIX machines or


        The USER command invokes the subroutine, USERSB, and performs
no other action.  USERSB is a subroutine with no arguments.  However,
parameters may be passed to this subroutine via the COMMON blocks.
These COMMON blocks store nearly all of the systems data.  These common
blocks may be obtained by including them from the directory containing
the sources for the version of the program you are using.


        A user supplied energy routine may be provided that will be
invoked on every energy evaluation. The force arrays should be
modified accordingly.


        If one need to be able to select atoms in a manner not
possible with the existing options, a user selection routine
may be specified. One such example would be for for selecting atoms
within a given rectangular solid, or other (nonsperical) solid.


        Within VIBRAN, a user specified vector or mode may be
generated with this routine. One command that appends this motion
onto the existing set of vectors is "EDIT INCL USER integer".


        A user specified parameter fitting routine may be specified.


        A user specified time series routine may be provied for use in
computing correlation functions.

        To simplify the use of these hooks and to allow users to replace
subprograms in the CHARMM with their own versions of said
subprograms, the command procedure BUILD has been provided.  BUILD
will produce a private version of the CHARMM in your default USER
directory using your versions of USERSB and USERE.  The procedure
looks in your directory for USERSB.SRC and USERE.SRC.  If either file
(or both) is found, it is used in the make procedure of the CHARMM.

        BUILD command should always be used to generate a private
version of the CHARMM as it will always use the correct files for

        Before attempting to write your own USER functions, you should
familiarize yourself with the information available onthe
implementation of CHARMM.

        This interface procedure is designed for short, one time
programs.  If a user written subroutine is of general use, the routine
should be rewritten to conform to parameter passing standards used in the
system and then will be incorporated into the central CHARMM.

        There are several utility routines available to a user routine.
Some of them are listed below.

        CALL GETE(X,Y,Z,...)  will cause the energy and forces to be
computed and values are saved in the appropriate common blocks. For
this to work properly, NBONDS, HBONDS, and CODES must have been called.
This can be done by executing both the NBONds and HBONds command,
by the use of the UPDAte command, or by having previously found the
energy (minimization, dynamics, etc..).

        CALL PRINTE(...) will write the current energy
values (from common block values) to the specified unit (IUNIT).
It will also write out the cycle or iteration number and optionally
write out the standard header.

File:Usage ]-[ Node:Syntactic Glossary
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                   Glossary of Syntactic Terms

char            A character

del             The delimiter - a single character which is used to mark
                the end of a portion of a command. Initially, it is a
                dollar sign but can be changed using the DELIM command,
                see *note delim:(miscom.doc). It should be
                noted that the delimiter cannot be a character within
                any string it is supposed to delimit.

deldel          Two delimiters concatened together with no space in between.

int or integer  An integer

iupac           IUPAC name for an atom. Initially specified in the
                residue topology file.

keyword         A word, see below, serving to identify some option

range           equivalent to real real integer. The first real is the
                minimum value in the range, the second number is the
                maximum value in the range, and the third number gives
                the number of interval, i.e. lines or columns.

real            A real number. No decimal point is required for the
                number to be interpreted correctly

resid           Residue identifier (a string of upto 4 characters)

resname         Residue name (type of residue. e.g. GUA)

segid           Segment identifier (a string of upto 4 characters)

string          An ordered set of characters

tag             A string which is a tag, i.e. no embedded spaces.

title           A series of 1 to 32 lines of text (max 80 characters per line)
                each starting with a "*". The title is terminated by a
                line which an asterisk "*" as the first character.
                Used for commenting files.

word            A string with no blanks

unit-number     An integer which is a Fortran unit number.

File: Usage ]-[ Node: Glossary
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                           General Glossary

data structure  A collection of arrays, scalars, and possibly other
                data structures which are related by part of a larger
                entity. For example, a coordinate set is a data
                structure which hold the three dimensional positions of
                atoms. This data structure consists of 1 scalar and
                three arrays. The scalar is the number of coordinates;
                the three arrays are the X, Y, and Z components of the

Internal        bonds, angles, torsions, improper torsions.
coordinates     Also, a data structure used for constructing coordinates.

Iupac Name for  The name of an atom with a residue. This name should be
an atom         unique within a residue and should conform to the IUPAC
                nomenclature, Biochemistry 9:3471 (1970)

Hbonds          hydrogen bonds

Parameters      constants in the energy expression ( force constants,
                minima of energy surfaces, charges, Lennard-Jones
                parameters, van der Waals radii, etc.)

PSF             structure file ( protein structure file ) :
                a list of the internal coordinates and related information

Residue         A string of four characters or less which uniquely specifies
Identifier      residue with in a segment. This value is currently set by
                CHARMM to be the character representation of the residue
                number in the segment starting from the first real monomer
                unit in it.

RTF             residue topology file : a list of standard internal
                coordinates, atom charges, atom types,
                excluded non-bonded interactions, etc.

Segment         A string of up to four characters uniquely designating
Identifier      a segment. Specified in the GENErate command, see
                *note gener: (struct.doc) Generate.

Sequence        list of residues

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