Maximum entropy production as an inference algorithm that translates physical assumptions into macroscopic predictions: Don't Shoot the Messenger

Roderick C. Dewar*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    88 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Is Maximum Entropy Production (MEP) a physical principle? In this paper I tentatively suggest it is not, on the basis that MEP is equivalent to Jaynes' Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) inference algorithm that passively translates physical assumptions into macroscopic predictions, as applied to non-equilibrium systems. MaxEnt itself has no physical content; disagreement between MaxEnt predictions and experiment falsifies the physical assumptions, not MaxEnt. While it remains to be shown rigorously that MEP is indeed equivalent to MaxEnt for systems arbitrarily far from equilibrium, work in progress tentatively supports this conclusion. In terms of its role within non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, MEP might then be better understood as Messenger of Essential Physics.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)931-944
    Number of pages14
    JournalEntropy
    Volume11
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009

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