The course deals with the fundamental physical aspects of the use of energy in ICT devices. We will address the functioning of the very basic elements of ICT devices, binary switches/transistors and memories, in order to identify, if any, fundamental physical limits in energy consumption. Here we discuss questions such as what is the theoretical minimum energy required to process information?, what is the minimum energy required to transmit information from one point to another? and are these limits practically reachable and under what conditions? While dealing with these relevant questions, we are mostly concerned with providing to the student a clear and intuitive understanding of what is going on and what the underlying physics aspects are, with the goal of providing cultural leads for designing future devices.
Luca Gammaitoni is a professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Perugia, in Italy, and the director of the Noise in Physical Systems (NiPS) Laboratory. He is also the founder of Wisepower srl, a university spin-off company. He obtained his PhD degree in Physics from the University of Pisa in 1990. Since then, he has developed a wide international experience with collaborations in Europe, Japan and the USA. His scientific interests span from noise phenomena in physical systems to non-equilibrium thermodynamics and energy transformations at micro- and nanoscale, including the physics of computing. He is one of the recipients of the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the observation of gravitational waves.