2
$\begingroup$

How does the act of erasing information increase the total entropy of the system? This goes by the name Landauer's principle. Some details are here. Can anyone shed more light on this?

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

It means that if you lose information from your system, that information must have been transferred to the system's surroundings. This shows up as an increase in the entropy in the surroundings. This is directly related to the 2nd law of thermodynamics which says the entropy of an isolated system is always increasing. See Wikipedia: Entropy in thermodynamics and information theory for more details.

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ w.r.t. quantum computation it might be interesting to mention that loosing information implies that the according operation is not reversible anymore, hence can not be described by a unitary. $\endgroup$ – Fleeep Jun 21 at 14:09
  • $\begingroup$ That's right, a whole discussion on decoherence would be interesting. I don't think I'll have the time in the near future but feel free to add an answer if you have time - it would certainly add to my rather short reply! $\endgroup$ – bRost03 Jun 21 at 14:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.