Entropy and computation: The landauer-bennett thesis reexamined

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The so-called Landauer-Bennett thesis says that logically irreversible operations (physically implemented) such as erasure necessarily involve dissipation by at least kln2 per bit of lost information. We identify the physical conditions that are necessary and sufficient for erasure and show that the thesis does not follow from the principles of classical mechanics. In particular, we show that even if one assumes that information processing is constrained by the laws of classical mechanics, it need not be constrained by the Second Law of thermodynamics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3297-3311
Number of pages15
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2013


  • Entropy
  • Erasure
  • Landauer-bennett thesis
  • Macrostates
  • Second law of thermodynamics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Information Systems
  • Mathematical Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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