The Bayesian Second Law of Thermodynamics

I post occasionally about Bayesian probability, particularly with respect to Bayesian inference, and related applications to physics and other things, such as thermodynamics, so in that light here’s a paper I stumbled across yesterday. It’s not a brand new paper – it came out on the ArXiv in 2015 – but it’s of sufficiently long-term interest to warrant sharing on here. Here’s the abstract:

You can download the full paper here. There’s also an accessible commentary by one of the authors here.

The interface between thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, information theory  and probability is a fascinating one, but too often important conceptual questions remain unanswered, or indeed unasked, while the field absorbs itself in detailed calculations. Refreshingly, this paper takes the opposite approach.




One Response to “The Bayesian Second Law of Thermodynamics”

  1. One of the authors is Jason Pollack. Great would have been “Jackson Pollock” instead, since his paintings are a good example of the Second Law in action. 😐

    I was in 2 museums on Sunday (special exhibitions on Magritte in one and Viking-settlement excavations in Denmark in another) and 1 on Saturday. Saturday was a return to the permanent collection. After admiring Botticelli, Rembrandt, Dürer etc on the top floor, I made my way downstairs (the museum is chronologically arranged, oldest at the top (which probably confuses people from the archaeology museum where I was on Sunday)). Artists like Max Beckmann aren’t my cup of tea, but it is still art and there are interesting things like historical context and so on.

    Then, for laughs, to contemporary (apparently this comes after “modern”) art in the cellar. A black square. OK, maybe it is funny/interesting once (like Cage’s 4’33”, which is OK as an idea, but we really don’t need the extended disco remix). Next to a black square (smaller than a normal sheet of paper), I read that after 1946 or whatever the artist painted only black polygons, and after 1958 or whatever he restricted himself to black squares. If this were satire, no one would fall for it. 😐

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