Special Issue "Physics of Information"

A special issue of Information (ISSN 2078-2489).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2014).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Hector Zenil
Website
Guest Editor
Unit of Computational Medicine, Center for Molecular Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Interests: algorithmic information theory; computational biology and complex networks
Prof. Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic

Guest Editor
1 Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, 412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
2 School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Computer Science Laboratory, Mälardalen University, Sweden
Interests: computing paradigms; computational mechanisms of cognition; philosophy of science; epistemology of science; computing and philosophy; ethics of computing; information ethics; roboethics and engineering ethics; sustainability ethics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Information has enabled new interpretations of quantum phenomena that promise fresh theoretical and practical insights. It also lies at the heart of statistical mechanics. Longstanding paradoxes in thermodynamics have been solved (or raised) using information and computation. In cosmology, it has been suggested that the universe has an unexpectedly limited capacity to store and process information, perhaps indicating that space and time are not fundamental properties of reality. Paradoxically, physics seems to impose constraints on information, such as the speed at which it can travel from one region to another in or how much information we can extract from a physical event at the smallest scale. Focusing on information flow, it has also been suggested, will also help us better understand how cells and complex biological organisms work. Indeed these days molecular biology is mostly an information science.

But it is computer science that has placed information at the center of the modern debate. Digital information has dominated technology in the half century, empowering and extending human capabilities to new frontiers. How unreasonable is the effectiveness of digital computation in the natural sciences? Is computation the obvious description of information-processing? What are the connections between carrying information, programming artificial and natural systems and computation? What is the nature of the interplay between information, entropy and other complexity measures?

This special issue is devoted to all these questions as approached through rigorous and unpublished technical work from areas such as cosmology, astrophysics, mathematics, computer science, complexity science, biology, and neuroscience. The central topic for authors to bear in mind is some foundational aspect of information and reality, or information processing in nature.

Dr. Hector Zenil
Dr. Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Information is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 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.

Keywords

  • information paradoxes in physics
  • programming reality
  • digital and informational physics
  • it from bit and/or it from bit
  • bit-string physics
  • quantum information and computation
  • computational thermodynamics
  • mathematical/Computational universe hypothesis
  • simulation and simulacra
  • theories of quantum gravity
  • algorithmic information theory
  • information, algorithms and automata
  • models of information processing
  • natural computing

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Logic of the Physics of Information
Information 2014, 5(3), 389-403; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5030389 - 08 Jul 2014
Cited by 3
Abstract
A consensus is emerging that the multiple forms, functions and properties of information cannot be captured by a simple categorization into classical and quantum information. Similarly, it is unlikely that the applicable physics of information is a single classical discipline, completely expressible in [...] Read more.
A consensus is emerging that the multiple forms, functions and properties of information cannot be captured by a simple categorization into classical and quantum information. Similarly, it is unlikely that the applicable physics of information is a single classical discipline, completely expressible in mathematical terms, but rather a complex, multi- and trans-disciplinary field involving deep philosophical questions about the underlying structure of the universe. This paper is an initial attempt to present the fundamental physics of non-quantum information in terms of a novel non-linguistic logic. Originally proposed by the Franco-Romanian thinker Stéphane Lupasco (1900–1988), this logic, grounded in quantum mechanics, can reflect the dual aspects of real processes and their evolution at biological, cognitive and social levels of reality. In my update of this logical system—Logic in Reality (LIR)—a change in perspective is required on the familiar notions in science and philosophy of causality, continuity and discontinuity, time and space. I apply LIR as a critique of current approaches to the physical grounding of information, focusing on its qualitative dualistic aspects at non-quantum levels as a set of physical processes embedded in a physical world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)
Open AccessArticle
Quantum States as Ordinary Information
Information 2014, 5(1), 190-208; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5010190 - 07 Mar 2014
Cited by 15
Abstract
Despite various parallels between quantum states and ordinary information, quantum no-go-theorems have convinced many that there is no realistic framework that might underly quantum theory, no reality that quantum states can represent knowledge about. This paper develops the case that there is a [...] Read more.
Despite various parallels between quantum states and ordinary information, quantum no-go-theorems have convinced many that there is no realistic framework that might underly quantum theory, no reality that quantum states can represent knowledge about. This paper develops the case that there is a plausible underlying reality: one actual spacetime-based history, although with behavior that appears strange when analyzed dynamically (one time-slice at a time). By using a simple model with no dynamical laws, it becomes evident that this behavior is actually quite natural when analyzed “all-at-once” (as in classical action principles). From this perspective, traditional quantum states would represent incomplete information about possible spacetime histories, conditional on the future measurement geometry. Without dynamical laws imposing additional restrictions, those histories can have a classical probability distribution, where exactly one history can be said to represent an underlying reality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)
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Open AccessArticle
Equivalence of the Symbol Grounding and Quantum System Identification Problems
Information 2014, 5(1), 172-189; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5010172 - 27 Feb 2014
Cited by 5
Abstract
The symbol grounding problem is the problem of specifying a semantics for the representations employed by a physical symbol system in a way that is neither circular nor regressive. The quantum system identification problem is the problem of relating observational outcomes to specific [...] Read more.
The symbol grounding problem is the problem of specifying a semantics for the representations employed by a physical symbol system in a way that is neither circular nor regressive. The quantum system identification problem is the problem of relating observational outcomes to specific collections of physical degrees of freedom, i.e., to specific Hilbert spaces. It is shown that with reasonable physical assumptions these problems are equivalent. As the quantum system identification problem is demonstrably unsolvable by finite means, the symbol grounding problem is similarly unsolvable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)

Review

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Open AccessReview
Top-Down Causation and the Rise of Information in the Emergence of Life
Information 2014, 5(3), 424-439; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5030424 - 21 Jul 2014
Cited by 18
Abstract
Biological systems represent a unique class of physical systems in how they process and manage information. This suggests that changes in the flow and distribution of information played a prominent role in the origin of life. Here I review and expand on an [...] Read more.
Biological systems represent a unique class of physical systems in how they process and manage information. This suggests that changes in the flow and distribution of information played a prominent role in the origin of life. Here I review and expand on an emerging conceptual framework suggesting that the origin of life may be identified as a transition in causal structure and information flow, and detail some of the implications for understanding the early stages chemical evolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)
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Other

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Open AccessEssay
An Order-Theoretic Quantification of Contextuality
Information 2014, 5(3), 508-525; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5030508 - 22 Sep 2014
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this essay, I develop order-theoretic notions of determinism and contextuality on domains and topoi. In the process, I develop a method for quantifying contextuality and show that the order-theoretic sense of contextuality is analogous to the sense embodied in the topos-theoretic statement [...] Read more.
In this essay, I develop order-theoretic notions of determinism and contextuality on domains and topoi. In the process, I develop a method for quantifying contextuality and show that the order-theoretic sense of contextuality is analogous to the sense embodied in the topos-theoretic statement of the Kochen–Specker theorem. Additionally, I argue that this leads to a relation between the entropy associated with measurements on quantum systems and the second law of thermodynamics. The idea that the second law has its origin in the ordering of quantum states and processes dates to at least 1958 and possibly earlier. The suggestion that the mechanism behind this relation is contextuality, is made here for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
It from Qubit: How to Draw Quantum Contextuality
Information 2014, 5(2), 209-218; https://doi.org/10.3390/info5020209 - 04 Apr 2014
Cited by 6
Abstract
Wheeler’s observer-participancy and the related it from bit credo refer to quantum non-locality and contextuality. The mystery of these concepts slightly starts unveiling if one encodes the (in)compatibilities between qubit observables in the relevant finite geometries. The main objective of this treatise is [...] Read more.
Wheeler’s observer-participancy and the related it from bit credo refer to quantum non-locality and contextuality. The mystery of these concepts slightly starts unveiling if one encodes the (in)compatibilities between qubit observables in the relevant finite geometries. The main objective of this treatise is to outline another conceptual step forward by employing Grothendieck’s dessins d’enfants to reveal the topological and (non)algebraic machinery underlying the measurement acts and their information content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physics of Information)
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