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How well can information be stored from the beginning to the end of time?

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Posted January 14, 2015

Information can never be stored perfectly. Whether on a CD, a hard disk drive, or a piece of papyrus, technological imperfections create noise that limits the preservation of information over time. But even if you had a perfect storage medium with zero imperfections, there would still be fundamental limits placed on information storage due to the laws of physics that govern the evolution of the universe ever since the Big Bang. But what exactly these fundamental limits are is still unclear.

preserving information

Plot of the transmissivity, η, of information as it travels through spacetime, shown as a function of the momentum, k, with which the universe expands. Credit: Mancini, et al. CC-BY-3.0

In a new paper published in the New Journal of Physics, Stefano Mancini and Roberto Pierini at the University of Camerino and INFN in Italy, along with Mark M. Wilde at Louisiana State University, have investigated these fundamental limits to preservinginformation on a literally cosmic scale.

Specifically, they wanted to know how well a given amount of information can be preserved from the beginning to the end of time, with limitations only from physical laws and not technological imperfections in the specific storage medium.

Read more at: Phys.org

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