Le contenu de cette page n’est pas disponible en français. Veuillez nous en excuser.

The thermodynamic meaning of negative entropy

Playing this video requires the latest flash player from Adobe.

Download link (right click and 'save-as') for playing in VLC or other compatible player.

Recording Details

Scientific Areas: 
PIRSA Number: 


Landauer's erasure principle states that there is an inherent work cost associated with all irreversible operations, like the erasure of the data stored in a system. The necessary work is determined by our uncertainty: the more we know about the system, the less it costs to erase it.
Here, we analyse erasure in a general setting where our information about that system can be quantum mechanical. In this scenario, our uncertainty, measured by a conditional entropy, may become negative. We establish a general relation between quantum conditional entropies and a physical quantity, the work cost of erasure. As a consequence, we obtain a thermodynamic interpretation of negative entropies: they quantify the work that can be gained by a quantum observer erasing a system.
(arXiv: 1009.1630)