An analysis is presented of the average probability of accepting an exchange trial in the parallel-tempering Monte Carlo molecular simulation method. Arguments are given that this quantity should be related to the entropy difference between the phases, and results from simulations of a simple Lennard-Jones system are presented to support this argument qualitatively. Another analysis based on the energy distributions of a replica pair is presented, and an exact expression for the trial-move acceptance probability in terms of the overlap of these distributions is derived. A more detailed expression is presented using an approximation of constant heat capacity, and an asymptotic form for this result, good for large system sizes, is reported. The detailed analyses are in quantitative agreement with the simulation data. It is further shown that treatment of the energy distributions as Gaussians is an inappropriate way to analyze the acceptance probability.

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