Fundamental thermal machines for the thermodynamics of computation

Authors: D. Chiucchiù, G. Gubbiotti


Computing devices are thermal machines. This perspective seems unusual, but the operations required to perform a computation are the same of thermal machine. Curiously enough, a strict thermodynamic description of computing devices is rare in the literature. One of the main reason is that such devices change their state once each nanosecond and, although two-hundred years old, thermodynamics is not yet capable of giving reliable analytic prescription of heat exchanges for finite time protocols, even for much simpler thermal devices. For example, there is no analytic formula describing the heat exchanged with the reservoir by a perfect gas compressed by a piston in a finite time. In this talk we address this latter system and develop analytic formula for the expected heat with the multiple scale expansion methods and regular perturbation techniques. Our aim is to introduce methodologies that could lead to a purely thermodynamic description of nowadays and future computing systems.