Add this Tag for questions on information theory applied to physics, especially in the fields of statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, the black hole information paradox, complexity of dynamical and physical systems and questions to do with whether information is conserved by physical systems. ...

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74
votes
1answer
2k views

Is it necessary to consume energy to perform computation?

As far as I know, today most of the computers are made from semiconductor devices, so the energy consumed all turns into the heat emitted into space. But I wonder, is it necessary to consume energy ...
38
votes
5answers
2k views

What is information?

We're all familiar with basic tenets such as "information cannot be transmitted faster than light" and ideas such as information conservation in scenarios like Hawking radiation (and in general, ...
28
votes
3answers
14k views

Maximum theoretical data density

Our ability to store data on or in physical media continues to grow, with the maximum amount a data you can store in a given volume increasing exponentially from year to year. Storage devices continue ...
27
votes
6answers
3k views

Why is information indestructable?

I really can't understand what Leonard Susskind means when he says that information is indestructible. Is that information that is lost, through the increase of entropy really recoverable? He ...
21
votes
3answers
248 views

Does entropy measure extractable work?

Entropy has two definitions, which come from two different branches of science: thermodynamics and information theory. Yet, they both are thought to agree. Is it true? Entropy, as seen from ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Where does deleted information go?

I've heard that, in classical and quantum mechanics, the law of conservation of information holds. I always wonder where my deleted files and folders have gone on my computer. It must be somewhere I ...
13
votes
1answer
406 views

In there such a thing as the Black Hole Information Paradox?

When I first heard about the black hole information paradox, I thought it had no content. At the time, papers about it had been written for numerous years and they keep on coming. Now that the press ...
12
votes
4answers
885 views

Ignorance in statistical mechanics

Consider this penny on my desc. It is a particular piece of metal, well described by statistical mechanics, which assigns to it a state, namely the density matrix $\rho_0=\frac{1}{Z}e^{-\beta H}$ ...
11
votes
1answer
349 views

How many bits are encoded on the surface of the smallest black hole?

Here's my guess ($157\, \textrm{bits}$) and how I got there. Please feel free to disregard completely and give your own answer. My understanding (please correct any wrong assumptions as there may be ...
10
votes
2answers
246 views

Would the horizon of a black hole be different for a tachyon than for subluminal matter or photons?

One of the most useful black hole analogies I've seen imagines that space is "flowing" like a river into a black hole, and the point at which it flows in faster than c is the horizon. This analogy ...
9
votes
3answers
738 views

Are Electromagnetic Waves The Only Means of Transmitting Information?

We've been using EMF to transmit energy (information) for over a century. I was wondering is there any other way to send a message on long distances, even faster than EMF waves can travel? For example ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

How are physics and computer science getting united?

How is theoretical computer science getting united with physics? Phenomena like Quantum Computing uses Quantum Mechanics to be able to compute things, how are computers helping not just to model our ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Maximum theoretical bandwidth of fibre-optics

Ignoring hardware at either end and their technological limitations, what is the maximum theoretical bandwidth of fibre optic cables currently in use / being deployed in a FTTH type situations? I ...
8
votes
7answers
8k views

Why is the decibel scale logarithmic?

Could someone explain in simple terms (let's say, limited to a high school calculus vocabulary) why decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale? (This isn't homework, just good old fashioned ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How efficient is a desktop computer?

As I understand it (and admittedly it's a weak grasp), a computer processes information irreversibly (AND gates, for example), and therefore has some minimum entropy increase associated with its ...
8
votes
2answers
513 views

Black hole complementarity - absorption of Hawking radiation

I try to understand two principles formulated by Leonard Susskind in his book The Black Hole War: 1, To any observer who remains outside a black hole, the stretched horizon appears to be a hot layer ...
8
votes
1answer
435 views

How is information defined from a thermodynamics point of view?

How is information defined from a thermodynamics point of view ? I came across some definitions using the concept of free energy of a system. If I have information stored in a finite volume of space ...
7
votes
5answers
1k views

How is thermodynamic entropy defined? What is its relationship to information entropy?

I read that thermodynamic entropy is a measure of the number of microenergy states. What is the derivation for $S=k\log N$, where $k$ is Boltzmann constant, $N$ number of microenergy states. How is ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How is information related to energy in physics?

I recently attended a talk by Dr. Ravi Gomatam on 'quantum reality', where the speaker suggested, that conservation of energy is not a fundamental law, and is conditional, but the conservation of ...
7
votes
2answers
227 views

Information Preservation and Burning Books

I recently read an article in the NY Times called A Black Hole Mystery Wrapped in a Firewall Paradox. I really liked the article, but reading one quote immediately made me think of asking Physics.SE a ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How many bytes can the observable universe store?

Is the number of states in the Universe countable? What framework could be used to answer the question in the title?
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Maxwell's Demon Constant (Information-Energy equivalence)

New Scientist article: Summon a 'demon' to turn information into energy The speed of light c converts between space and time and also appears in e=mc^2. Maxwell's Demon can turn information supplied ...
6
votes
3answers
426 views

Confusion regarding entropy, reference papers request

1.a In paragraph at Wikipedia/Entropy it is stated: This is because energy supplied at a high temperature (i.e. with low entropy) tends to be more useful than the same amount of energy ...
6
votes
2answers
767 views

What is the real-world significance of the Bekenstein bound?

The Bekenstein bound sets the maximum amount of information that can be contained in a region of space/energy, and is usually referred to in the same way as computer storage density: For example, ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the relationship between Energy, Entropy, and Information?

What is the relationship between Energy, Entropy, and Information? I read this - What Is Energy? Where did it come from? - and the top answer says that 'energy' is an abstract number that is a ...
6
votes
1answer
319 views

What is the information geometry of 1D Ising model for a complex magnetic field?

Consider the one-dimensional Ising model with constant magnetic field and node-dependent interaction on a finite lattice, given by $$H(\sigma) = -\sum_{i = 1}^N J_i\sigma_i\sigma_{i + 1} - h\sum_{i = ...
5
votes
3answers
219 views

Does unitarity imply conservation of energy?

Not too long ago, someone began to discuss the thinking and motivation behind the Lagrangian and its formalism for the Newtonian framework and an intuitive understanding of such formalism. Somehow, it ...
5
votes
2answers
249 views

Why isn't data lost when sent over large distances?

I was thinking about how information is sent, for example through the atmosphere. There are plenty of obstacles, as well diffraction, etc. Still, no information is lost. How is information sent to ...
5
votes
3answers
314 views

Information loss in a black hole

How does the Holographic Principle help to establish the fact that all the information is not lost in a black hole?
5
votes
1answer
618 views

Is there really time reversibility in physics?

First, how i got to the question. I was randomly looking at this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langton%27s_ant describing some sort of cellular automaton. Here is the path of this automaton ...
5
votes
2answers
132 views

Proof of conservation of information [duplicate]

After listening of some lectures of Leonard Susskind about black holes, he mentioned that conservation of information is one of the foundations of physics. After searching the web I cannot seem to ...
5
votes
2answers
218 views

Information Loss in annihilation

The concept of information loss is usually discussed with respect to a black hole. My understanding is that whatever matter you put into the black hole, it has only 3 "hairs" and so one doesn't know, ...
5
votes
1answer
501 views

Why isn't black hole information loss this easy (am I missing something basic)?

Ok, so on Science channel was a special about Hawking/Susskind debating black holes, which can somehow remove information from the universe. A) In stars, fusion converts 4 hydrogen into 1 helium, ...
5
votes
2answers
232 views

What reflective media do laser shows use?

I am having a hard time in finding out what exact light media laser shows use. I am trying to build a laser show myself. I know that the laser light is reflected off these particles in such a way that ...
5
votes
0answers
189 views

Estimating the Kolmogorov Complexity of the Standard Model

The Kolmogorov complexity of a hypothesis / theory / model is the shortest computer program that simulates it, regardless of how inefficient executing that program may be in terms of memory and time. ...
4
votes
4answers
618 views

Uncertainty Principle for Information?

I'm not familiar (yet) on how Information theory can be emerged/used in QM/QFT but I was thinking about this question: While we have Heisenberg uncertainty principle on measuring coupled observables, ...
4
votes
3answers
289 views

Entropy and Information

Several posts and my classes in thermodynamics equate increase in entropy with loss of information. Shannon clearly showed that the information content of a message is zero when its entropy is zero ...
4
votes
2answers
262 views

Entropy: two explanations for the same quantity?

I studied thermodynamics and I saw the following definition for entropy: $$ \Delta S = \int_1^2 \frac{\text{d}Q}{T} $$ that we use to calculate $\Delta S$ for different types of transformations. In ...
4
votes
2answers
273 views

What is the mechanism for fast scrambling of information by black holes?

Sekino and Susskind have argued that black holes scramble information faster than any quantum field theory in this paper. What is the mechanism for such scrambling?
4
votes
2answers
159 views

Knotted token-ring network

Suppose we have a rigid token-ring network. An observer at any node can seemingly determine the angular momentum of the network by measuring the time it takes for a packet to travel around the ring ...
3
votes
1answer
346 views

Microsecond trading with neutrinos

The Spread Networks corporation recently laid down 825 miles of fiberoptic cable between New York and Chicago, stretching across Pennsylvania, for the sole purpose of reducing the latency of ...
3
votes
3answers
176 views

The role of context in information theory

Consider Hofstaedter’s jukebox analogy: A jukebox that contains only one record, but many different record players, each of which interprets that one record in a different way to produce an entirely ...
3
votes
2answers
261 views

Number of bits needed to express physical laws?

What is the minimum number of bits that would be needed to express a given physical law, like the law of universal gravitation? How many bits are needed to express each of the four fundamental forces? ...
3
votes
1answer
392 views

How large is the information collected from an inverse femtobarn of collisions?

I ran into this while looking at measures of humongous amounts of data. How does the information (data) collected in an inverse femtobarn exposure compare to a gigabyte of data ?
3
votes
2answers
410 views

Quantum Teleportation Fidelity

I understand that quantum teleportation fidelity is the overlap of the initial quantum state with the teleported quantum state. If the teleportation is perfect, then the fidelity would equal 1 or 100% ...
3
votes
1answer
291 views

Wasn't the Hawking Paradox solved by Einstein?

I just watched a BBC Horizon episode where they talked about the Hawking Paradox. They mentioned a controversy about information being lost but I couldn't get my head around this. Black hole ...
3
votes
2answers
124 views

Why the self-information is -log(p(m))?

Why is self-information given by $-\log(p(m))$? Shannon derived a measure of information content called the self-information or "surprisal" of a message $m$: $$I(m) = \log \left( ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Do monochromatic waves carry information?

The answer is negative according to http://www.mathpages.com/home/kmath528/kmath528.htm It should also be remembered that a perfectly monochromatic wave carries no information, and therefore is ...
3
votes
1answer
253 views

Should entropy have units and temperature in terms of energy? [duplicate]

I've been thinking about entropy for a while and why it is a confusing concept and many references are filled with varying descriptions of something that is a statistical probability (arrows of time, ...
3
votes
1answer
109 views

Definition of Information in Information Theory

I am not sure in which SE site I have to put this question. But since I have learnt Shannon Entropy in the context of Statistical Physics, I am putting this question here. In the case of Shannon ...