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Open AccessArticle

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
Entropy 2013, 15(10), 4432-4483; https://doi.org/10.3390/e15104432
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)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: entropy; computation; fluctuations; Maxwell’s demon; Landauer’s principle; thermodynamics entropy; computation; fluctuations; Maxwell’s demon; Landauer’s principle; thermodynamics
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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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