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Entropy 2013, 15(10), 4432-4483; doi:10.3390/e15104432
Article

All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation

Received: 3 July 2013 / Revised: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 22 September 2013 / Published: 17 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maxwell’s Demon 2013)
Download PDF [758 KB, 24 February 2015; original version 24 February 2015]

Abstract

The most successful exorcism of Maxwell’s demon is Smoluchowski’s 1912 observation that thermal fluctuations would likely disrupt the operation of any molecular-scale demonic machine. A later tradition sought to exorcise Maxwell’s demon by assessing the entropic cost of the demon’s processing of information. This later tradition fails since these same thermal fluctuations invalidate the molecular-scale manipulations upon which the thermodynamics of computation is based. A new argument concerning conservation of phase space volume shows that all Maxwell’s demons must fail.
Keywords: entropy; computation; fluctuations; Maxwell’s demon; Landauer’s principle; thermodynamics entropy; computation; fluctuations; Maxwell’s demon; Landauer’s principle; thermodynamics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Norton, J.D. All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation. Entropy 2013, 15, 4432-4483.

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