Why do computers use so much energy? What are the fundamental physical laws governing the relationship between the precise computation run by a system, whether artificial or natural, and how much energy that computation requires? Can we learn how to improve efficiency in computing by examining how biological computers manage to be so efficient? The time is ripe for a new synthesis of nonequilibrium physics, computer science, and biochemistry.

This volume integrates pure and applied concepts from these diverse fields, with the goal of cultivating a modern, nonequilibrium thermodynamics of computation.

Purchase The Energetics of Computing in Life and Machines

Table of Contents

PrefaceChris Kempes, David H. Wolpert, Peter F. Stadler, and Joshua A. Grochow

1: Overview of Information Theory, Computer Science Theory, and Stochastic Thermodynamics of ComputationDavid H. Wolpert

2: A Compositional Chemical Architecture for Asynchronous ComputationBlake S. Pollard

3: Information Processing in Chemical SystemsJakob L. Andersen, Christoph Flamm, Daniel Merkle, and Peter F. Stadler

4: Native Chemical Automata and the Thermodynamic Interpretation of Their Experimental Accept/Reject Responses, Marta Dueñas-Díez and Juan Pérez-Mercader

5: Intergenerational Cellular Signal Transfer and ErasureGW C. McElfresh and J. Christian J. Ray

6: Protocell Cycles as Thermodynamic CyclesBernat Corominas-Murtra, Harold Fellermann, and Ricard Solé

7: How and What Does a Biological System Compute?  Sonja J. Prohaska, Peter F. Stadler, and Manfred Laubichler

8: Toward Space- and Energy-Efficient ComputationsAnne Condon and Chris Thachuk

9: Beyond Number of Bit Erasures: Computer Science Theory of the Thermodynamics of ComputationJoshua A. Grochow and David H. Wolpert

10: Automatically Reducing Energy Consumption of SoftwareJeremy Lacomis, Jonathan Dorn, Westley Weimer, and Stephanie Forrest

11: Trade-Offs between Cost and Precision and Their Possible Impact on AgingHildegard Meyer-Ortmanns

12: The Power of Being Explicit: Demystifying Work, Heat, and Free Energy in the Physics of Computation, Thomas E. Ouldridge, Rory A. Brittain, and Pieter Rein ten Wolde

13: Transforming Metastable Memories: The Nonequilibrium Thermodynamics of ComputationPaul M. Riechers

14: Physical Limitations of Work Extraction from Temporal Correlations, Elan Stopnitzky, Susanne Still, Thomas E. Ouldridge, and Lee Altenberg

15: Detailed Fluctuation Theorems: A Unifying PerspectiveRiccardo Rao and Massimiliano Esposito