The End of the Thermodynamics of Computation: A No Go Result

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Norton, John D.
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conference paper description
The thermodynamics of computation assumes that computational processes at the molecular level can be brought arbitrarily close to thermodynamic reversibility; and that thermodynamic entropy creation is unavoidable only in data erasure or the merging of computational paths, in accord with Landauer’s principle. The no go result shows that fluctuations preclude completion of thermodynamically reversible processes. Completion can be achieved only by irreversible processes that create thermodynamic entropy in excess of the Landauer limit.