Open AccessThis article is
- freely available
All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation
Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Center for Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
Received: 3 July 2013; in revised form: 17 September 2013 / Accepted: 22 September 2013 / Published: 17 October 2013
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
Article StatisticsClick here to load and display the download statistics.
Notes: Multiple requests from the same IP address are counted as one view.
Cite This Article
MDPI and ACS Style
Norton, J.D. All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation. Entropy 2013, 15, 4432-4483.
Norton JD. All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation. Entropy. 2013; 15(10):4432-4483.
Norton, John D. 2013. "All Shook Up: Fluctuations, Maxwell’s Demon and the Thermodynamics of Computation." Entropy 15, no. 10: 4432-4483.