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Thermodynamics of Information Processing Christopher Jarzynski, University of Maryland, College Park DMR 0906601. Work and Information Processing in a Solvable Model of Maxwell ’ s Demon D. Mandal and C. Jarzynski, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109 , 11641-45 (2012)

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Thermodynamics of Information ProcessingChristopher Jarzynski, University of Maryland, College Park DMR 0906601

Work and Information Processing in a Solvable Model of Maxwell’s Demon

D. Mandal and C. Jarzynski, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 109, 11641-45 (2012)

Nearly 150 years ago, James Clerk Maxwell discussed how a hypothetical “neat-fingered being” with keen powers of observation might effectively subvert the second law of thermodynamics. This famous thought experiment has led to deep insights into the thermodynamic consequences of information processing, and in recent years there has been growing interest in this topic. In our research, we have proposed a simple model of a mechanical system that acts as a Maxwell demon, taking energy from its thermal surroundings and delivering that energy in the form of useful work. Our model can also behave as an eraser, using the energy of a dropping mass to remove information from a memory register. Because our model is both simple and exactly solvable, it offers a useful paradigm for exploring the interplay between work, heat and information in microscopic systems.

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Thermodynamics of Information ProcessingChristopher Jarzynski, University of Maryland, College Park DMR 0906601

Raman Research Institute, Bangalore, India, April 2012

http://www.rri.res.in/~statphys/2012/

Recent years have seen rapid progress in the field of nonequilibrium statistical physics. To help communicate these results to the next generation of scientists, I have developed a one-week introductory course on systems far from equilibrium. In the last few years I have given versions of the course at a number of schools both in the United States and abroad, most recently at the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore, India.