Todd R. Gingrich, Grant M. Rotskoff, Gavin E. Crooks, Phillip L. Geissler Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2016)
The development of sophisticated experimental means to control nanoscale systems has motivated efforts to design driving protocols that minimize the energy dissipated to the environment. Computational models are a crucial tool in this practical challenge. We describe a general method for sampling an ensemble of finite-time, nonequilibrium protocols biased toward a low average dissipation. We show that this scheme can be carried out very efficiently in several limiting cases. As an application, we sample the ensemble of low-dissipation protocols that invert the magnetization of a 2D Ising model and explore how the diversity of the protocols varies in response to constraints on the average dissipation. In this example, we find that there is a large set of protocols with average dissipation close to the optimal value, which we argue is a general phenomenon.