Hede.io Entry: Reversible Computing

Reversible computing is computation using reversible operations that can be easily and exactly reversed or undone.

Reversible computing was first described in a 1961 paper by physicist Rolf Landauer titled “Irreversibility and Heat Generation in the Computing Process”. Landauer argued that the logically irreversible character of conventional computational operations has direct affects for the thermodynamic behavior of a device that is carrying out those operations. This establishes Landauer's physical principle that if an observer loses information about a physical system; the observer loses the ability to extract work from that system. For a computation to be logically reversible it must also be physically reversible.

Reversible computing avoids dissipating the energy that is associated with the bits of encoded binary information that are being manipulated by the computing process. Reversible computing can help to reduce the overall energy dissipation of computations which can increase battery life or processing speed in systems.

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