Special Issue "Thermodynamics of Information Processing"
A special issue of Entropy (ISSN 1099-4300).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).
Interests: information theory, physics of computation, far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics, machine learning, theoretical biophysics
The energetics of information processing systems, both man-made and natural, are subject to the laws of thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics, in particular, limits the thermodynamic efficiency with which information can be processed. This point was first raised in Leo Szillard's discussion of Maxwell's Demon. Later, Rolf Landauer showed that the second law provides a fundamental limit to computing in that it gives a lower bound on the heat generated when one bit of information is erased. While Szillard's and Landauer's reasoning is based solely on equilibrium thermodynamics, many information processing systems, especially living systems, operate away from thermodynamic equilibrium. Living systems embody particularly interesting information processing capabilities, including the ability to learn about, adapt to, and, to a certain degree, control their environment. A great deal of recent effort has gone into understanding the fundamental limits for systems operating arbitrarily far from equilibrium. This effort is in part driven by recent experimental advances in manipulating small systems. As technology approaches the nano scale, increased attention has been directed towards quantum thermodynamics. While quantum effects are believed to play a role in some living systems, biological information processing can largely be understood classically. Ultimately, the hope is that physical limits to information processing will inform general building principles, thus deepening our understanding of living systems, as well as paving the way for a new generation of nano-devices and machine learning methods.
This Special Issue seeks contributions advancing our understanding of the thermodynamics of information processing, with a special focus on, but not limited to, living systems and learning. We welcome theoretical, as well as experiment work, original research or review papers, and, particularly, seek high-quality theoretical contributions illuminating the general thermodynamic limits of information processing.
Dr. Susanne Still
Manuscript Submission Information
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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- thermodynamics of information processing
- far-from-equilibrium thermodynamics
- stochastic thermodynamics
- quantum thermodynamics
- living systems
- machine learning
- predictive inference
- physics of computation