The so-called Landauer-Bennett thesis says that logically irreversible operations (physically implemented) such as erasure necessarily involve dissipation by at least kln2 per bit of lost information. We identify the physical conditions that are necessary and sufficient for erasure and show that the thesis does not follow from the principles of classical mechanics. In particular, we show that even if one assumes that information processing is constrained by the laws of classical mechanics, it… CONTINUE READING