The thermodynamics of learning
Feb 2017, phys.org
While investigating how efficiently the brain can learn new information, physicists have found that, at the neuronal level, learning efficiency is ultimately limited by the laws of thermodynamics
"The second law is a very powerful statement about which transformations are possible—and learning is just a transformation of a neural network at the expense of energy. "
- Sebastian Goldt at the University of Stuttgart, Germany
In the new study, the scientists showed that learning efficiency is bounded by the total entropy production of a neural network. They demonstrated that, the slower a neuron learns, the less heat and entropy it produces, increasing its efficiency. In light of this finding, the scientists introduced a new measure of learning efficiency based on energy requirements and thermodynamics.