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Cooling Computers by Deleting Data?

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 06:57PM

Before we get too far here, this is purely theoretical and is meant for supercomputers, not desktops.

We all know that as a computer runs, heat is released, or do we know that? Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have determined that it is possible to have computational processes that produce no heat, or even remove heat! The example they use in the article is the deletion of data. Here comes the science stuff.

In 1961 physicist Rolf Landauer determined that when data is deleted there is an increase in entropy, which is dissipated as heat. Fifty years later it has been theoretically determined that by perfectly knowing the data being deleted, there will be no increase in entropy and no heat. With the quantum-mechanical phenomenon of entanglement it is not only possible for the observer to perfectly know the data but to know it better than perfect, in terms of classical mechanics. With that super-perfect knowledge, deletion of data will result in negative entropy and heat being removed from the system!

Translation: the better you know what you’re deleting, the less heat will be released by deleting it. Quantum entanglement allows you to know the data so well that heat can be removed from the system. Unfortunately, this is working at the edge of the second law of thermodynamics, which states the entropy of the universe never decreases. We cannot break that law.

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zackhaf on June 1, 2011 07:00PM
This is quite interesting stuff. I wonder if my professors would accept this as a thermodynamics answer on a test....
SpeedCrazy on June 1, 2011 07:14PM
Interesting, but quite a stretch of my imagination. You translate quite well jim.
Guest_Jim_* on June 1, 2011 07:32PM
Maybe I should find the article about how you can achieve temperatures below absolute zero. Wouldn't be a news item, but if you want a thermodynamics answer or a stretch of imagination, that should work.
nahuelcutrera on June 1, 2011 08:19PM
quantum entanglement it's extremely difficult to achieve if I'm not mistaken, so I don't see a big chance for this to become a reality
zackhaf on June 1, 2011 08:36PM
...is it sad that I know how to theoretically achieve a temp below absolute zero?.....i think it might be
Guest_Jim_* on June 2, 2011 07:20AM
I don't think it's sad.

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