Information is Physical

Even when the headlines are not gut-wrenching

Information processing is seldom that physical.

One of the most astounding theoretical predictions of the late 20th century was Landauer’s discovery that erasing memory is linked to entropy i.e. heat is produced whenever a bit is fully and irrevocably erased.  As far as theoretical work goes this is even somewhat intuitively understandable: After all increasing entropy essentially means moving to a less ordered phase state (technically a micro-ensemble that is less special). And what could be possibly be more ordered than a computer memory register?

Recently this prediction has been confirmed by a very clever experiment.  Reason enough to celebrate this with another “blog memory-hole rescue”:

If you ever wondered what the term “adiabatic” in conjunction with quantum computing means, Perry Hooker provides the answer in this succinct explanation. His logic gate discussion shows why Landauer’s principle has implications far beyond the memory chips, and in a sense, undermines the entire foundation of classical information processing.

Truly required reading if you want to appreciate why quantum computing matters.

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