Minimal Energy Requirements in Communication

The literature describing the energy needs for the communications channel has been dominated by analyses of linear electromagnetic transmission, often without awareness that this is a special case. That case leads to the conclusion that kTln2 is needed to transmit a bit, and more if quantized channels are used with hv > kT. Alternative communication methods are proposed to show that there is no unavoidable minimal energy requirement per transmitted bit. These methods are invoked as part of an analysis of ultimate limits, and not as practical procedures.

By: Rolf Landauer

Published in: Science, volume 272, (no 5270), pages 1914-18 in 1996

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