In every case, Bennett found, heat dissipation occurs only when information is erased. Erasure is the irreversible logical operation. When the head on a Turing machine erases one square of the tape, or when an electronic computer clears a capacitor, a bit is lost, and then heat must be dissipated. In Szilárd's thought experiment, the demon does not incur an entropy cost when it observes of chooses a molecule. The payback comes at the moment of clearing the record, when the demon erases one observation to make room for the next.
Forgetting takes work.
Syndicated 2012-07-27 19:30:12 from cdent