Maxwell's Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation

Publication Year:
2000
Usage 349
Downloads 349
Repository URL:
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/230
Author(s):
Bub, Jeffrey
artifact description
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.