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Physics of information in non-equilibrium systems

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Title:Physics of information in non-equilibrium systems
Authors:Stopnitzky, Elan
Contributors:Still, Susanne (advisor)
Physics (department)
information theory
origin of life
Date Issued:2019
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:Recent advances in non-equilibrium thermodynamics have begun to reveal the fundamental physical costs, benefits, and limits to the use of information. As the processing of information is a central feature of biology and human civilization, this opens the door to a physical understanding of a wide range of complex phenomena. I discuss two areas where connections between non-equilibrium physics and information theory lead to new results: inferring the distribution of biologically important molecules on the abiotic early Earth, and the conversion of correlated bits into work. I show that a non-equilibrium model for the chemistry of the early Earth, which incorporates our uncertainty about the available conditions, predicts average abundances of life’s building blocks that are radically larger than their equilibrium estimates and may explain how these molecules were present in appreciable quantities on the early Earth. I also demonstrate fundamental limits on the conversion of correlated bits into work, which arise from physical constraints on the transition matrices that govern the process of conversion.
Description:Ph.D. Thesis. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa 2019
Pages/Duration:87 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Physics

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