There’s Plenty of Boole at the Bottom: A Reversible CA Against Information Entropy

Minds and Machines 26 (4):341-357 (2016)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
“There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom”, said the title of Richard Feynman’s 1959 seminal conference at the California Institute of Technology. Fifty years on, nanotechnologies have led computer scientists to pay close attention to the links between physical reality and information processing. Not all the physical requirements of optimal computation are captured by traditional models—one still largely missing is reversibility. The dynamic laws of physics are reversible at microphysical level, distinct initial states of a system leading to distinct final states. On the other hand, as von Neumann already conjectured, irreversible information processing is expensive: to erase a single bit of information costs ~3 × 10−21 joules at room temperature. Information entropy is a thermodynamic cost, to be paid in non-computational energy dissipation. This paper addresses the problem drawing on Edward Fredkin’s Finite Nature hypothesis: the ultimate nature of the universe is discrete and finite, satisfying the axioms of classical, atomistic mereology. The chosen model is a cellular automaton with reversible dynamics, capable of retaining memory of the information present at the beginning of the universe. Such a CA can implement the Boolean logical operations and the other building bricks of computation: it can develop and host all-purpose computers. The model is a candidate for the realization of computational systems, capable of exploiting the resources of the physical world in an efficient way, for they can host logical circuits with negligible internal energy dissipation.
Keywords
No keywords specified (fix it)
Reprint years
2018
ISBN(s)
PhilPapers/Archive ID
BERTPO-77
Revision history
Archival date: 2016-10-09
View upload history
References found in this work BETA
The Connection Between Logical and Thermodynamic Irreversibility.Ladyman, James; Presnell, Stuart; Short, Anthony J. & Groisman, Berry

View all 9 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Added to PP index
2016-10-07

Total views
106 ( #25,950 of 43,016 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #29,824 of 43,016 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks to external links.