Does computation require energy or work?

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Offline Zufolek

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Does computation require energy or work?
« on: 17/12/2009 09:19:23 »
What's the popular view on the energy or work required to perform computation? I can't find any information on this online. Is a minimum of energy or work required to achieve a particular computation? Or is perhaps computation a kind of work?

Computers can of course be made more and more efficient with advancing technologies, but eventually, we get to atomic scale or Planck scale and quanta and what have you, so one might think that there's a minimum of work that must be done to perform any given computational task, regardless of how fast it's performed.

Does this make sense?


Offline stereologist

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Does computation require energy or work?
« Reply #1 on: 13/04/2010 04:59:42 »
Computation is done by a change of state. Energy is required at times to maintain a state. It is definitely required to change state. As devices become faster the devices also heat up since changes of state happen faster. The problem with making device use less and less energy for differences in states is that cosmic rays and other radiation can cause a change of state leading to an error in the computation process.