The Constructal Theory of Information

Beginning in the 1980s, I pondered the causal connection between information and thermodynamics. It seemed evident that the two fundamental properties of information were storage and transmission – storage requiring matter, transmission requiring energy. A third property, replication, is evidently associated with life forms and human information processes. However, this is where ti stopped. Information exists in discontinuous processes of storage and transmission with no apparent underlying “motivation.”

Then in 2012, I discovered Adrian Bejan’s book, Design in Nature and became aware of his 1996 statement of the Constructal Law. Over the next three years, I came to the realization that information itself was in fact a property of all “animate” life forms and that knowledge was the active agent of life that allows it to amplify energy in the environment to stay alive. Even more important was the realization that the precise definition of the Constructal Law and its action within life forms is the critical element that allows them to grow, evolve and reproduce.

My Constructal Theory of Information, presented on May 17 at the Constructal Law Conference at the Romanian Academy of Sciences, finally proves the intimate causal connection between information and the knowledge expression that animates the thermodynamic activity of life. Its properties are transitive across all scales, organizational hierarchies and mechanisms of operation, DNA, human society and machines.

Although the details of the proof are awaiting publication, at the most basic level, the theory states that all life forms must convert information to knowledge in order to harvest energy from the environment. In addition, the Constructal Law shows that the energy harvested must be in excess of the minimum necessary for sustenance in order for the organism to grow, evolve and/or reproduce.

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