Information-theoretic foundations of thermodynamics in general probabilistic theories

Por • 2 feb, 2019 • Sección: Crítica

Carlo Maria Scandolo

Abstract: We study the informational underpinnings of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, using an abstract framework, general probabilistic theories, capable of describing arbitrary physical theories. This allows one to abstract the informational content of a theory from the concrete details of its formalism. In this framework, we extend the treatment of microcanonical thermodynamics, namely the thermodynamics of systems with a well-defined energy, beyond the known cases of classical and quantum theory, formulating two necessary requirements for a well-defined thermodynamics. We adopt the recent approach of resource theories, where one studies the transitions between states that can be accomplished with a restricted set of physical operations. We formulate three different resource theories, differing in the choice of the restricted set of physical operations. To bridge the gap between the objective dynamics of particles and the subjective world of probabilities, one of the core issues in the foundations of statistical mechanics, we propose four information-theoretic axioms. They are satisfied by quantum theory and more exotic alternatives, including a suitable extension of classical theory where classical systems interact with each other creating entangled states. The axioms identify a class of theories where every mixed state can be modelled as the reduced state of a pure entangled state. In these theories it is possible to introduce well-behaved notions of majorisation, entropy, and Gibbs states, allowing for an information-theoretic derivation of Landauer’s principle. The three resource theories define the same notion of resource if and only if, on top of the four axioms, the dynamics of the underlying theory satisfy a condition called “unrestricted reversibility”. Under this condition we derive a duality between microcanonical thermodynamics and pure bipartite entanglement.

arXiv:1901.08054v1 [quant-ph]

Quantum Physics (quant-ph); Statistical Mechanics (cond-mat.stat-mech); Mathematical Physics (math-ph); History and Philosophy of Physics (physics.hist-ph)

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