Novel implementation of the evolutionary approach known as particle swarm optimization (PSO) capable of finding the global minimum of the potential energy surface of atomic assemblies is reported. This is the first time the PSO technique has been used to perform global optimization of minimum structure search for chemical systems. Significant improvements have been introduced to the original PSO algorithm to increase its efficiency and reliability and adapt it to chemical systems. The developed software has successfully found the lowest-energy structures of the LJ26 Lennard-Jones cluster, anionic silicon hydride Si2H, and triply hydrated hydroxide ion OH− (H2O)3. It requires relatively small population sizes and demonstrates fast convergence. Efficiency of PSO has been compared with simulated annealing, and the gradient embedded genetic algorithm. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Comput Chem, 2007
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