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Harnessing fluctuations in thermodynamic computing via time-reversal symmetries


We experimentally demonstrate that highly structured distributions of work emerge during even the simple task of erasing a single bit. These are signatures of a refined suite of time-reversal symmetries in distinct functional classes of microscopic trajectories. As a consequence, we introduce a broad family of conditional fluctuation theorems that the component work distributions must satisfy. Since they identify entropy production, the component work distributions encode the frequency of various mechanisms of both success and failure during computing, as well giving improved estimates of the total irreversibly dissipated heat. This new diagnostic tool provides strong evidence that thermodynamic computing at the nanoscale can be constructively harnessed. We experimentally verify this functional decomposition and the new class of fluctuation theorems by measuring transitions between flux states in a superconducting circuit.

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