The second law of thermodynamics is probabilistic in nature. Its formulation requires that the state of a system be described by a probability distribution. A natural question, thereby, arises as to whether a prior knowledge about the state of the system aﬀects the second law. This question has nowbeen nurtured for over a century, and it was incepted by C Maxwell through his famous thought experiment wherein comes the idea of Maxwell’s demon. The next important step in this direction was provided by L Szilard, who demonstrated a theoretical model for an information engine incorporating Maxwell’s demon. The ﬁnal step that led to the inter-linkage of information theory and thermodynamics was through Landauer’s principle of information erasure that established thefact that information is physical. Here, we will present an overview of these three major works that laid the foundations of information thermodynamics.
Volume 26 | Issue 6