Custom Samplers

NetKet provides the freedom to define user’s own samplers, by specifying the relevant move operators in the Sampler section of the input. For the moment, this functionality is limited to move operators which are sums of -local move operators:

where the move operators act on an (arbitrary) subset of sites.

Move Operators

The operators are specified giving their matrix elements, and a list of sites on which they act. Each operator must be real, symmetric, positive definite and stochastic (i.e. sum of each column and line is 1).

The transition probability associated to a custom sampler can be decomposed into two steps:

  1. One of the move operators is chosen with a weight given by the user (or uniform probability by default). If the weights are provided, they do not need to sum to unity.

  2. Starting from state , the probability to transition to state is given by .

Parameter Possible values Description Default value
ActingOn List of list of integers The sites on which each acts on None
MoveOperators List of stochastic matrices For each , the matrix elements of in the -local Hilbert space None
MoveWeights List of reals For each , the probability to pick one of the move operators (must sum to one) uniform probability


(extracted from Tutorials/CustomSampler/

# defining the custom sampler
# for a spin 1/2 chain of size L
# here we use two types of moves : local spin flip (0 <--> 1), and exchange flip between two sites (10 <--> 01, 11 and 00 are unchanged)
# note that each line and column has to add up to 1.0 (stochastic matrices)
# we also choose a relative frequency of 2 for local-spin flips with respect to exchange flips
spin_flip = [[0, 1], [1, 0]]
exchange_flip = [[1, 0, 0, 0], [0, 0, 1, 0], [0, 1, 0, 0], [0, 0, 0, 1]]
weight_spin_flip = 2.0
weight_exchange_flip = 1.0

# adding both types of flip for all sites in the chain
operators = []
sites = []
weights = []
for i in range(L):
        sites.append([i, (i + 1) % L])

# now we define the custom sampler accordingly
pars['Sampler'] = {
       'MoveOperators' : operators,
       'ActingOn' : sites,
       'MoveWeights' : weights,
        # parallel tempering is also possible with custom sampler (uncomment the following line)
        #'Nreplicas' : 12,


The custom sampler can perform parallel-tempering moves in addition to the custom moves implemented in CustomSampler. The number of replicas can be chosen by the user (see commented line in the example above).

Parameter Possible values Description Default value
Nreplicas Integer The number of effective temperatures for parallel tempering, None