# Boltzmann, Shannon, and (Missing) Information

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Boltzmann, Shannon, and (Missing) Information

Entropy of a gas. Entropy of a message. Information?
Second Law of Thermodynamics. Entropy of a gas. Entropy of a message. Information?

B.B. (before Boltzmann): Carnot, Kelvin, Clausius, (19th c.)
Second Law of Thermodynamics: The entropy of an isolated system never decreases. Entropy defined in terms of heat exchange: Change in entropy = (Heat absorbed)/(Absolute temp). (+ if absorbed, - if emitted). (Molecules unnecessary).

Q Hot (Th) Cold (Tc) Isolated system. Has some structure (ordered).
Heat, Q, extracted from hot, same amount absorbed by cold – energy conserved, 1st Law. Entropy of hot decreases by Q/Th; entropy of cold increases by Q/Tc > Q/Th, 2d Law. In the fullness of time … Lukewarm No structure (no order).

Stuff releases heat q, gets more organized entropy decreases
Paul’s entropy picture Sun releases heat Q at high temp  entropy decreases Surroundings absorb q, gets more disorganized  entropy increases … Living stuff absorb heat Q at lower temp  larger entropy increases Overall, entropy increases

2d Law of Thermodynamics does not forbid emergence of local complexity (e.g., life, brain, …).
2d Law of Thermodynamics does not require emergence of local complexity (e.g., life , brain, …).

Boltzmann (1872)) Entropy of a dilute gas.
N molecules obeying Newtonian physics (time reversible). State of each molecule given by its position and momentum. Molecules may collide – i.e., transfer energy and momentum among each other. colliding

pk = fraction of particles whose positions and momenta are in bin k.
Represent system in a space whose coordinates are positions and momenta = mv (phase space). momentum position Subdivide space into B bins. pk = fraction of particles whose positions and momenta are in bin k.

Build a histogram of the pk’s.
pk’s change because of Motion Collisions External forces

Given the pk’s, how much information do you need to locate a molecule in phase space?
All in 1 bin – highly structured, highly ordered no missing information, no uncertainty. Uniformly distributed – unstructured, disordered, random. maximum uncertainty, maximum missing information. In-between case  intermediate amount of missing information (uncertainty) Any flattening of histogram (phase space landscape) increases uncertainty.

Boltzmann: Amount of uncertainty, or missing information, or randomness, of the distribution of the pk’s, can be measured by HB =  pk log(pk)

pk histogram revisited.
All in 1 bin – highly structured, highly ordered HB = 0. Maximum HB. Uniformly distributed – unstructured, disorder, random. HB = - log B. Minimum HB. In-between case  intermediate amount of missing information (uncertainty). In – between value of HB.

Boltzmann’s Famous H Theorem
Define: HB = pklog(pk) Assume: Molecules obey Newton’s Laws of motion. Show: HB never increases. AHA! HB never decreases: behaves like entropy!! If it looks like a duck … Identify entropy with – HB : S = - kBHB Boltzmann’s constant

New version of Second Law:
The phase space landscape either does not change or it becomes flatter. life? It may peak locally provided it flattens overall.

Two “paradoxes” 1. Reversal (Loschmidt, Zermelo). Irreversible phenomena (2d Law, arrow of time) emerge from reversible molecular dynamics. (How can this be? – cf Tony Rothman).

2. Recurrence (Poincaré)
2. Recurrence (Poincaré). Sooner or later, you are back where you started. (So, what does approach to equilibrium mean?) Graphic from: J. P. Crutchfield et al., “Chaos,” Sci. Am., Dec., 1986.

Well … Interpret H theorem probabilistically. Boltzmann’s treatment of collisions is really probabilistic,…, molecular chaos, coarse-graining, indeterminacy – anticipating quantum mechanics? Entropy is probability of a macrostate – is it something that emerges in the transition from the micro to the macro? Poincaré recurrence time is really very, very long for real systems – longer than the age of the universe, even. Anyhow, entropy does not decrease! … on to Shannon

AB (After Boltzmann): Shannon (1949) Entropy of a message
Message encoded in an alphabet of B symbols, e.g., English sentence (26 letters + space + punctuations) Morse code (dot, dash, space) DNA (A, T, G, C) pk = fraction of the time that symbol k occurs (~ probability that symbol k occurs).

pick a symbol – any symbol …
Shannon’s problem: Want a quantity that measures missing information: how much information is needed to establish what the symbol is, or uncertainty about what the symbol is, or how many yes-no questions need to be asked to establish what the symbol is. Shannon’s answer: HS = - k pk log(pk) A positive number

Morse code example: All dots: p1 = 1, p2 = p3 = 0.
Take any symbol – it’s a dot; no uncertainty, no question needed, no missing information, HS = 0. 50-50 chance that it’s a dot or a dash: p1 = p2 = ½, pk = 0. Given the p’s, need to ask one question (what question?), one piece of missing information, HS = log(2) = 0.69 Random: all symbols equally likely, p1 = p2 = p3 = 1/3. Given the p’s, need to ask as many as 2 questions -- 2 pieces of missing information, HS = log(3) = 1.1

Two comments: 1. It looks like a duck … but does it quack?
There’s no H theorem for Shannon’s HS. 2. H is insensitive to meaning. Shannon: “ [The] semantic aspects of communication are irrelevant to the engineering problem.”

On H theorems: Q: What did Boltzmann have that Shannon didn’t?
A: Newton (or equivalent dynamical rules for the evolution of the pk’s). Does Shannon have rules for how the pk’s evolve? In a communications system, the pk’s may change because of transmission errors. In genetics, is it mutation? Is the result always a flattening of the pk landscape, or an increase in missing information? Is Shannon’s HS just a metaphor? What about Maxwell’s demon?

On dynamical rules. Is a neuron like a refrigerator?
Entropy of fridge decreases. Entropy of signal decreases.

General Electric designs refrigerators.
The entropy of a refrigerator may increase, but it needs electricity. The entropy of the message passing through a neuron may increase, but it needs nutrients. General Electric designs refrigerators. Who designs neurons?

Same pk’s, same entropies – same “missing information.”
Insensitive to meaning: Morse revisited X={… } H E L L O W O R L D Y={.- -… … } A B C D E F G H I J M Same pk’s, same entropies – same “missing information.”

If X and Y are separately scrambled – still same pk’s, same “missing
information” – same entropy. The message is in the sequence? What do geneticists say? Information – as entropy – is not a very useful way to characterize the genetic code?

Do Boltzmann and Shannon mix?
Boltzmann’s entropy of a gas, SB = - kB Spklog pk kB relates temperature to energy: E = kBT relates temperature of a gas to PV. Shannon’s entropy of a message, SS = - kSpklog pk k is some positive constant – no reason to be kB. Does SB + SS mean anything? Does the sum never decrease? Can an increase in one make up for a decrease in the other?

Maxwell’s demon yet once more.
Demon measures velocity of molecule by bouncing light on it and absorbing reflected light; process transfers energy to demon; increases demon’s entropy – makes up for entropy decrease of gas.

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