Entropy | Special Issue : Thermodynamics and Information Theory of Living Systems

Complexity Digest

One of the defining features of living systems is their ability to process, exchange and store large amounts of information at multiple levels of organization, ranging from the biochemical to the ecological. At the same time, living entities are non-equilibrium—possibly at criticality—physical systems that continuously exchange matter and energy with structured environments, all while obeying the laws of thermodynamics. These properties not only lead to the emergence of biological information, but also impose constraints and trade-offs on the costs of such information processing. Some of these costs arise due to the particular properties of the material substrate of living matter in which information processing takes place, while others are universal and apply to all physical systems that process information.

In the past decade, the relationship between thermodynamics and information has received renewed scientific attention, attracting an increasing number of researchers and achieving significant progress. Despite this, the field is full…

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