Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Information-Theoretic Statistical Mechanics and the 2nd Law
Daniel Parker, Virginia Tech
12:05 pm, 817R Cathedral of Learning
Abstract: This talk attempts to make progress on developing a clear account of information-theoretic approaches to statistical mechanics. Earman and Norton (1999) have argued that information-theoretic exorcisms of Maxwell's Demon are, by and large, poorly reasoned and confused, and they introduce a dilemma to clarify the debate. I argue that the dilemma they pose stacks the deck against information-theoretic interpretations of the content of the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Further, I attempt to remedy this problem by working towards a clearer account of the meaning of the 2nd law as viewed from an information-theoretic perspective.