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ICAND 2018 - NiPS presentation on "The cost of remembering"



Aug. 5-9, Maui (USA)

International Conference on Applications in Nonlinear Dynamics (

Luca Gammaitoni presents recent work at NiPS on the Physics of Computing with an invited talk entitled: The Cost of Remembering.

In 1961, Rolf Landauer pointed out that resetting a binary memory requires a minimum energy of kBT ln(2). However, once written, any memory is doomed to loose its content if no action is taken. To avoid memory losses, a refresh procedure is periodically performed. In this talk we present a theoretical and experimental study of sub-kBT system to evaluate the minimum energy required to preserve one bit of information over time. Two main conclusions are drawn:

i) in principle the energetic cost to preserve information for a fixed time duration with a given error probability can be arbitrarily reduced if the refresh procedure is performed often enough;

ii) the Heisenberg uncertainty principle sets an upper bound on the memory lifetime: no memory can last forever.


The Cost of remembering