Maxwell's demon and the thermodynamics of computation

TitleMaxwell's demon and the thermodynamics of computation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsBub, J
Date Published2002/03/05

It is generally accepted, following Landauer and Bennett, that the process of
measurement involves no minimum entropy cost, but the erasure of information in
resetting the memory register of a computer to zero requires dissipating heat
into the environment. This thesis has been challenged recently in a two-part
article by Earman and Norton. I review some relevant observations in the
thermodynamics of computation and argue that Earman and Norton are mistaken:
there is in principle no entropy cost to the acquisition of information, but
the destruction of information does involve an irreducible entropy cost.

Short TitleStudies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 32