
Variational Autoencoders
March 5, 2023
I’ve been wanting to write a primer on the variational autoencoders for some time. There have been so many papers and blog posts written on this that I am at this point very late to the party. Nevertheless, I will put this out for the exercise of it. Perhaps I will have a slightly different way of thinking about it that someone finds illuminating. …

Ideal Gas Entropy Derivation
June 21, 2022
Derivation of the change in entropy formula for an ideal gas (used in the The Carnot Cycle post) from state space volumes. Discussion about connections between the observer’s information about the gas and how that relates to the reversibility of transformations applied to the gas. …

Liouville Supplemental: Bertrand Paradox
April 5, 2022
I reframe the Bertrand paradox as the statement that uniformity of measure is relative to choice of coordinate system. The objectiveBayesian approach to the problem of priors is to assign a maximally uninformative prior to the given possibility space. What is considered maximally uninformative can be derived with the maximum entropy principle  a generalization of the principle of indifference. In many cases this ends up being a uniform prior. However, we run into a problem since uniformity is relative to choice of coordinates. This is relevant to physics since there is no preferred coordinate system to work in. …

Liouville Supplemental: Coordinate Transformations
April 5, 2022
This is supplemental material for Liouville's Theorem. Specifically I go through a few examples of phase space transformations, canonical and noncanonical. I also show that we can turn arbitrary configuration space transformations into canonical phase space transformations, a result that will be useful for my discussion about the Bertrand paradox (Liouville's Theorem). …

Liouville's Theorem
April 5, 2022
Liouville’s Theorem states that the size of a state region of any closed system remains constant as the system evolves through time. This has consequences for connections between information and physics. …

The Carnot Cycle
March 17, 2022
This a formal description of the Carnot cycle which I hope is a useful reference for anyone who wants to quickly ramp up on thermodynamics. The Carnot cycle is often used as a canonical introduction to classical thermodynamics (specifically the thermodynamics of ideal gasses) since it nicely illustrates the relationship between the entropy, temperature and volume of a gas. …

The Reversibility Problem
March 1, 2022
This is my exploration into formalizing the reversibility problem, i.e. the question “Which processes are reversible?” My long term goals are to, formally define what it means for any process to be reversible, regardless of equilibrium considerations; clarify the connection between information and reversibility (and by extension the connection between information and entropy); clarify (make well defined) the meaning of statements like “breaking a glass is irreversible because the entropy of the broken glass is higher than the entropy of the unbroken glass,” and “the entropy of the universe is monotonically increasing.” …

Why Doesn't Uncopying Defeat The 2nd Law?
February 17, 2022
In Is The Szilard Cycle Reversible? I pondered whether uncopying a bit of information at the end of the Szilard cycle makes the full cycle reversible, apparently getting around the 2nd law. This “loophole” is more much pervasive to thermodynamics than the Szilard engine. I will go through its generalization in #Maxwell’s Superdemon. I assume the 2nd law holds, so in #Slaying The Superdemon I consider some possible reasons why this loophole doesn’t work. …

Is The Szilard Cycle Reversible?
February 9, 2022
This is a longwinded attempt at formulating a question about thermodynamics. I will first give a high level #Overview of what this post is about, and then go through the technical details in the subsequent sections. Feel free to otherwise skip directly to #Part I Uncopying if you’d rather jump right in. The question is stated at the bottom: #Question. …

Redundancy And Copying
June 23, 2021
Information in our universe can be copied, as evidenced by the ubiquitous copying of computer memory, books and paper everywhere, and our ability to nondestructively see and hear everything around us. Information is copied (or cloned) when the state of one system, the target, becomes correlated with the state of another system, the source, without destructively altering the state of the source. Information is moved, on the other hand, when the state of the source is transferred to the target in a way that leaves the source’s state erased or overwritten with something else. In general, information copying between two systems is a special case of increasing information redundancy between two systems. …