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Thermodynamics as Control Theory
Entropy 2014, 16(4), 2278-2290; doi:10.3390/e16042278

Going Round in Circles: Landauer vs. Norton on the Thermodynamics of Computation

1,*  and 2
1 Department of Philosophy, University of Bristol, Cotham House, Cotham Hill, Bristol BS6 6JL, UK 2 Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6GG, UK
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 September 2013 / Revised: 9 January 2014 / Accepted: 16 January 2014 / Published: 22 April 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maxwell’s Demon 2013)
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There seems to be a consensus among physicists that there is a connection between information processing and thermodynamics. In particular, Landauer’s Principle (LP) is widely assumed as part of the foundation of information theoretic/computational reasoning in diverse areas of physics including cosmology. It is also often appealed to in discussions about Maxwell’s demon and the status of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. However, LP has been challenged. In his 2005, Norton argued that LP has not been proved. LPSG offered a new proof of LP. Norton argued that the LPSG proof is unsound and Ladyman and Robertson defended it. However, Norton’s latest work also generalizes his critique to argue for a no go result that he purports to be the end of the thermodynamics of computation. Here we review the dialectic as it currently stands and consider Norton’s no go result.
Keywords: Landauer’s Principle; thermodynamics; computation Landauer’s Principle; thermodynamics; computation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Ladyman, J.; Robertson, K. Going Round in Circles: Landauer vs. Norton on the Thermodynamics of Computation. Entropy 2014, 16, 2278-2290.

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