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Entropy 2013, 15(11), 4956-4968; doi:10.3390/e15114956
Article

Beyond Landauer Erasure

1
 and
2,*
1 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK 2 Centre for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (Australian Research Council), Centre for Quantum Dynamics, Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland 4111, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 August 2013 / Revised: 29 October 2013 / Accepted: 31 October 2013 / Published: 13 November 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maxwell’s Demon 2013)
Download PDF [284 KB, 24 February 2015; original version 24 February 2015]

Abstract

In thermodynamics, one considers thermal systems and the maximization of entropy subject to the conservation of energy. A consequence is Landauer’s erasure principle, which states that the erasure of one bit of information requires a minimum energy cost equal to kT ln(2), where T is the temperature of a thermal reservoir used in the process and k is Boltzmann’s constant. Jaynes, however, argued that the maximum entropy principle could be applied to any number of conserved quantities, which would suggest that information erasure may have alternative costs. Indeed, we showed recently that by using a reservoir comprising energy degenerate spins and subject to conservation of angular momentum, the cost of information erasure is in terms of angular momentum rather than energy. Here, we extend this analysis and derive the minimum cost of information erasure for systems where different conservation laws operate. We find that, for each conserved quantity, the minimum resource needed to erase one bit of memory is λ-1 ln(2), where λ is related to the average value of the conserved quantity. The costs of erasure depend, fundamentally, on both the nature of the physical memory element and the reservoir with which it is coupled.
Keywords: thermodynamics; information erasure; maximum entropy principle; spin reservoir thermodynamics; information erasure; maximum entropy principle; spin reservoir
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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Barnett, S.M.; Vaccaro, J.A. Beyond Landauer Erasure. Entropy 2013, 15, 4956-4968.

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