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What is information?


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36 minutes ago, humility said:

I dont mean the dictionary definition. I mean, well, it seems sometimes that the word information is used in a very special sense in physics.  Does it have a special meaning or is my perception off?


A very reasonable question that confuses many.


If   A system, whether simple or complicated, can be considered to exist in one or many 'states', each state is called a bit or piece of information.

Now these states may be abstract and non physical such as the number of different spot patterns that can appear on the face of a rolled die (6)

Or they may be concrete and physical for instance the number of energy levels available to a single particle in a particular atom. For the sake of the discussion let us say this is also 6.


Then either system can be used to represent 6 different things or pieces of information at most.


It is the mathematical statistics of these levels that leads to another property called entropy and the connection between information entropy in computers and thermodynamics.


Does this help?



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