Maxwell's Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation.
It is generally accepted, following Landauer and Bennett, that the process of measurement involves no minimum entropy cost, but the erasure of information in resetting the memory register of a computer to zero requires dissipating heat into the environment. This thesis has been challenged recently in a two-part article by Earman and Norton. I review some relevant observations in the thermodynamics of computation and argue that Earman and Norton are mistaken: there is in principle no entropy cost to the acquisition of information, but the destruction of information does involve an irreducible entropy cost.
||Maxwell's Demon, thermodynamics of computation, entropy of erasure
||Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
||14 Apr 2001
||07 Oct 2010 15:10
||J. Earman and J.D. Norton, `Exorcist XIV: The Wrath of Maxwell's Demon. Part I. From Maxwell to Szilard,' Studies in the History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 29, 435--471 (1998).
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