Beyond Landauer Erasure
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In thermodynamics, one considers thermal systems and the maximization of entropy subject to the conservation of energy. A consequence is Landauer's erasure principle, which states that the erasure of one bit of information requires a minimum energy cost equal to kT ln(2), where T is the temperature of a thermal reservoir used in the process and k is Boltzmann's constant. Jaynes, however, argued that the maximum entropy principle could be applied to any number of conserved quantities, which would suggest that information erasure may have alternative costs. Indeed, we showed recently that by using a reservoir comprising energy degenerate spins and subject to conservation of angular momentum, the cost of information erasure is in terms of angular momentum rather than energy. Here, we extend this analysis and derive the minimum cost of information erasure for systems where different conservation laws operate. We find that, for each conserved quantity, the minimum resource needed to erase one bit of memory is ln(2)/a, where a is related to the average value of the conserved quantity. The costs of erasure depend, fundamentally, on both the nature of the physical memory element and the reservoir with which it is coupled.
© 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, author. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Atomic and Molecular Physics
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics