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- Laws of thermodynamics beyond the von Neumann regime

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13040112

A recent development in

information theory is the generalisation of quantum Shannon information theory

to the operationally motivated smooth entropy information theory, which

originates in quantum cryptography research. In a series of papers the first

steps have been taken towards creating a statistical mechanics based on smooth

entropy information theory. This approach turns out to allow us to answer

questions one might not have thought were possible in statistical mechanics,

such as how much work one can extract in a given realisation, as a function of

the failure-probability. This is in contrast to the standard approach which

makes statements about average work. Here we formulate the laws of

thermodynamics that this new approach gives rise to. We show in particular that

the Second Law needs to be tightened. The new laws are motivated by our main

quantitative result which states how much work one can extract or must invest

in order to affect a given state change with a given probability of success.

For systems composed of very large numbers of identical and uncorrelated

subsystems, which we call the von Neumann regime, we recover the standard von

Neumann entropy statements.

Joint work with Egloff, Renner and Vedral

http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.0434

©2012 Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics