The Physics of Information Technology / Edition 1

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The Physics of Information Technology explores the familiar devices that we use to collect, transform, transmit, and interact with electronic information. Many such devices operate surprisingly close to very many fundamental physical limits. Understanding how such devices work, and how they can (and cannot) be improved, requires deep insight into the character of physical law as well as engineering practice. The book starts with an introduction to units, forces, and the probabilistic foundations of noise and signaling, then progresses through the electromagnetics of wired and wireless communications, and the quantum mechanics of electronic, optical, and magnetic materials, to discussions of mechanisms for computation, storage, sensing, and display. This self-contained volume will help both physical scientists and computer scientists see beyond the conventional division between hardware and software to understand the implications of physical theory for information manipulation.

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Editorial Reviews

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"...throughout the text, Gershenfeld retains much of the conversational tone and spontaneity of a lecture. At its best, this makes for enjoyable reading, with interesting tidbits and asides that enliven the discussions....Gershenfeld's book will be valuable for physical scientists looking for an enjoyable introduction to the information sciences. And anyone wishing to learn more about diverse areas of physics related to
The information revolution has been driven by exponential improvements in technology<-->such as processor speeds doubling every few years. But such improvements aren't infinite, because devices used to manipulate information have physical limits: circuits can't have wires smaller than atoms or signals faster than light. Gershenfeld (MIT Media Lab) helps physical scientists and computer scientists see beyond the traditional division between hardware and software to understand the implications of physical theory for information manipulation<-->the interface where many of the most dramatic advances in both domains are occurring. His text is for advanced undergraduates and graduate students in physics, computer science, and electrical engineering as well as for working scientists, engineers, and technical leaders. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface; 1. Introduction; 2. Interactions, units, and magnitudes; 3. Noise in physical systems; 4. Information in physical systems; 5. Electromagnetic fields and waves; 6. Circuits, transmission lines, and wave guides; 7. Multipoles and antennas; 8. Optics; 9. Lensless imaging and inverse problems; 10. Semiconductor materials and devices; 11. Generating, modulating, and detecting light; 12. Magnetic storage; 13. Measurement and coding; 14. Transducers; 15. Timekeeping and navigation; 16. Quantum computing and communications; Appendix 1. Problem solutions.

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