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Information Engines and the Second Law – Benjamin Schumacher

Date: Thu. January 24th, 2008, 4:15 pm-5:15 pm
Location: Rockefeller 301

Maxwell’s demon, which extracts work from a thermodynamic system by acquiring information about it, has for more than a century been a favorite thought-experiment in the foundations of statistical physics. The demon has variously been viewed as a threat, an exception, an exemplar, and a means for extending the Second Law. I will describe a formulation of thermodynamics in which such “information engines” play the central role, yielding insights about entropy, information erasure, the meaning of temperature, and the connection between fluctuation and dissipation.

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