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Thermodynamics as Control Theory

Wallace, David (2013) Thermodynamics as Control Theory. [Preprint]


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I explore the reduction of thermodynamics to statistical mechanics by treating the former as a control theory: a theory of which transitions between states can be induced on a system (assumed to obey some known underlying dynamics) by means of operations from a fixed list. I recover the results of standard thermodynamics in this framework on the assumption that the available operations do not include measurements which affect subsequent choices of operations. I then relax this assumption and use the framework to consider the vexed questions of Maxwell's demon and Landauer's principle. Throughout I assume rather than prove the basic irreversibility features of statistical mechanics, taking care to distinguish them from the conceptually distinct assumptions of thermodynamics proper.

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Item Type: Preprint
Keywords: statistical mechanics control theory thermodynamics
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Depositing User: Professor David Wallace
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2013 08:17
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2013 08:17
Item ID: 9904
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Physics > Statistical Mechanics/Thermodynamics
Date: July 2013

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