Maxwell's Demon, Szilard Engine and Landauer Principle

10 Apr 2019  ·  Pal P. S., Jayannavar A. M. ·

The second law of thermodynamics is probabilistic in nature. Its formulation requires that the state of a system be described by a probability distribution... A natural question, thereby, arises as to whether a prior knowledge about the state of the system affects the second law. This question has now been nurtured over a century and its inception was done by C. Maxwell through his famous thought experiment wherein comes the idea of Maxwell's demon. The next important step in this direction was provided by L. Szilard who demonstrated a theoretical model for an information engine incorporating Maxwell's demon. The final step that lead to the inter-linkage between information theory and thermodynamics was through Landauer's principle of information erasure that established the fact that information is physical. Here we will present an overview of these three major works that laid the foundations of information thermodynamics. read more

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Statistical Mechanics