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Primeur weekly 2016-01-25

Focus

e-Infrastructures Austria, the relation with e-IRG and data management policies ...

Crowd computing

GIMPS Project discovers largest known prime number: 274,207,281-1 ...

Quantum computing

Maxwell's demon as a self-contained, information-powered refrigerator ...

Focus on Europe

Mechanical quanta see the light ...

ESFRI to organize Roadmap 2016 launch event ...

EXASOL moves its UK headquarters from London to Bracknell, readying itself for further rapid growth in the data analytics space ...

Physicists develop a cooling system for the processors of the future ...

Middleware

Oak Ridge deploys Allinea MAP to scale up software performance ...

Do IT Systems and Bright Computing announce partnership to offer world class HPC solutions to Italian corporations ...

Bright Computing releases version 7.2 of Bright Cluster Manager for HPC, Bright Cluster Manager for Big Data, and Bright OpenStack ...

Hardware

Cray signs $36 million contract to upgrade Cray systems at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ...

TACC's Lonestar 5 begins full production ...

Bullion, high-end x86 server from Bull, beats worldwide records ...

University of California names Michael Witherell to head Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ...

Cable Public Affairs Channel delivers live, high-quality public affairs content to 11 million Canadian homes and via 24/7 web streaming thanks to DDN ...

Open-source GPU could push computing power to the next level ...

Team of engineers at Riphah International University develop new supercomputer architecture ...

Applications

SDSC's 'Comet' aids in discovery of new organometallic compounds ...

Yahoo releases the largest-ever machine learning dataset for researchers ...

Mira supercomputer simulations give a new "edge" to fusion research ...

Machine learning helps discover the most luminous supernova in history ...

Bridging the bio-electronic divide: New effort aims for fully implantable devices able to connect with up to one million neurons ...

The Cloud

Alibaba's AliCloud bets on GPUs for artificial intelligence ...

SDSC's Health CI Division, City of Hope to create Cancer Research Infrastructure ...

Rescale appoints Zack Smocha as Vice President of Product Marketing ...

IBM acquires Ustream to propel Cloud-based video services across industries ...

Maxwell's demon as a self-contained, information-powered refrigerator


An autonomous Maxwell's demon. When the demon sees the electron enter the island (1.), it traps the electron with a positive charge (2.). When the electron leaves the island (3.), the demon switches back a negative charge (4.). Image: Jonne Koski.
11 Jan 2016 Aalto - In 1867, Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell challenged the second law of thermodynamics according to which entropy in a closed system must always increase. In his thought experiment, Maxwell took a closed gas container, divided it into two parts with an inner wall and provided the wall with a small trap door. By opening and closing the door, the creature - 'demon' - controlling it could separate slow cold and fast warm particles to their respective sides, thus creating a temperature difference in contravention of the laws of thermodynamics.

On theoretical level, the thought experiment has been an object of consideration for nearly 150 years, but testing it experimentally has been impossible until the last few years. Making use of nanotechnology, scientists from Aalto University have now succeeded in constructing an autonomous Maxwell's demon that makes it possible to analyse the microscopic changes in thermodynamics. The research results were recently published inPhysical Review Letters. The work is part of the forthcoming PhD thesis of MSc Jonne Koski at Aalto University.

"The system we constructed is a single-electron transistor that is formed by a small metallic island connected to two leads by tunnel junctions made of superconducting materials. The demon connected to the system is also a single-electron transistor that monitors the movement of electrons in the system. When an electron tunnels to the island, the demon traps it with a positive charge. Conversely, when an electron leaves the island, the demon repels it with a negative charge and forces it to move uphill contrary to its potential, which lowers the temperature of the system", explained Professor Jukka Pekola.

What makes the demon autonomous or self-contained is that it performs the measurement and feedback operation without outside help. Changes in temperature are indicative of correlation between the demon and the system, or, in simple terms, of how much the demon 'knows' about the system. According to Jukka Pekola, the research would not have been possible without the Low Temperature Laboratory conditions.

"We work at extremely low temperatures, so the system is so well isolated that it is possible to register extremely small temperature changes", he stated.

"An electronic demon also enables a very large number of repetitions of the measurement and feedback operation in a very short time, whereas those who, elsewhere in the world, used molecules to construct their demons had to contend with not more than a few hundred repetitions."

The work of the team led by Jukka Pekola remains, for the time being, basic research, but in the future, the results obtained may, among other things, pave the way towards reversible computing.

"As we work with superconducting circuits, it is also possible for us to create qubits of quantum computers. Next, we would like to examine these same phenomena on the quantum level", Jukka Pekola revealed.

J.V. Koski, A. Kutvonen, I.M. Khaymovich, T. Ala-Nissilä and J.P. Pekola are the authors of the paper titled "On-chip Maxwell's demon as an information-powered refrigerator". The abstract of the article can be read at http://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.260602 .
Source: Aalto University

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2016-01-25

Focus

e-Infrastructures Austria, the relation with e-IRG and data management policies ...

Crowd computing

GIMPS Project discovers largest known prime number: 274,207,281-1 ...

Quantum computing

Maxwell's demon as a self-contained, information-powered refrigerator ...

Focus on Europe

Mechanical quanta see the light ...

ESFRI to organize Roadmap 2016 launch event ...

EXASOL moves its UK headquarters from London to Bracknell, readying itself for further rapid growth in the data analytics space ...

Physicists develop a cooling system for the processors of the future ...

Middleware

Oak Ridge deploys Allinea MAP to scale up software performance ...

Do IT Systems and Bright Computing announce partnership to offer world class HPC solutions to Italian corporations ...

Bright Computing releases version 7.2 of Bright Cluster Manager for HPC, Bright Cluster Manager for Big Data, and Bright OpenStack ...

Hardware

Cray signs $36 million contract to upgrade Cray systems at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ...

TACC's Lonestar 5 begins full production ...

Bullion, high-end x86 server from Bull, beats worldwide records ...

University of California names Michael Witherell to head Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ...

Cable Public Affairs Channel delivers live, high-quality public affairs content to 11 million Canadian homes and via 24/7 web streaming thanks to DDN ...

Open-source GPU could push computing power to the next level ...

Team of engineers at Riphah International University develop new supercomputer architecture ...

Applications

SDSC's 'Comet' aids in discovery of new organometallic compounds ...

Yahoo releases the largest-ever machine learning dataset for researchers ...

Mira supercomputer simulations give a new "edge" to fusion research ...

Machine learning helps discover the most luminous supernova in history ...

Bridging the bio-electronic divide: New effort aims for fully implantable devices able to connect with up to one million neurons ...

The Cloud

Alibaba's AliCloud bets on GPUs for artificial intelligence ...

SDSC's Health CI Division, City of Hope to create Cancer Research Infrastructure ...

Rescale appoints Zack Smocha as Vice President of Product Marketing ...

IBM acquires Ustream to propel Cloud-based video services across industries ...