Oct 17, 2020

Research team discovers uniquely quantum effect in erasing information

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Researchers from Trinity have discovered a uniquely quantum effect in erasing information that may have significant implications for the design of quantum computing chips. Their surprising discovery brings back to life the paradoxical “Maxwell’s demon,” which has tormented physicists for over 150 years.

The thermodynamics of computation was brought to the fore in 1961 when Rolf Landauer, then at IBM, discovered a relationship between the dissipation of heat and logically irreversible operations. Landauer is known for the mantra “Information is Physical,” which reminds us that information is not abstract and is encoded on physical hardware.

The “bit” is the currency of information (it can be either zero or one) and Landauer discovered that when a bit is erased there is a minimum amount of heat released. This is known as Landauer’s bound and is the definitive link between information theory and thermodynamics.

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