MPIDS Colloquium: The stochastic thermodynamics of computation

MPIDS Colloquium

  • Datum: 20.01.2021
  • Uhrzeit: 15:15 - 16:15
  • Vortragende(r): Prof. Dr. David Wolpert
  • Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico, USA
  • Ort: Max-Planck-Institut für Dynamik und Selbstorganisation (MPIDS)
  • Raum: Video conference at Meeting ID: 959 2774 3389 Passcode: 651129
  • Gastgeber: MPIDS
  • Kontakt:
One of the major resource requirements of computers — ranging from biological cells to human brains to high-performance digital computers — is the energy used to run them. Those energy requi-rements of performing a computation have been a long-standing focus of research in statistical phy-sics, going back (at least) to the early work of Landauer and colleagues.

However, one of the most prominent aspects of computers is that they are inherently non-equilibrium systems. They are also often quite small, far from the thermodynamic limit. Unfor-tunately, the research by Landauer and co-workers was grounded in the statistical physics of the 20th century, which could not properly address the thermodynamics of non-equilibrium, nanoscale systems.

Fortunately, recent revolutionary breakthroughs in stochastic thermodynamics have overcome the limitations of 20th century statistical physics. We can now analyze arbitrarily off-equilibrium sys-tems, of arbitrary size. Here I show how to apply these recent breakthroughs to analyze the thermo-dynamics of computation. Specifically, I present formulas for the thermodynamic costs of imple-menting (loop-free) digital circuits, of implementing Turing machines, of implementing Bayes nets, and of implementing multipartite processes like the interacting organelles in a cell.
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