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A drive towards thermodynamic efficiency for dissipative structures in chemical reaction networks

Ueltzhöffer, K; Da Costa, L; Cialfi, D; Friston, K; (2021) A drive towards thermodynamic efficiency for dissipative structures in chemical reaction networks. Entropy , 23 (9) , Article 1115. 10.3390/e23091115. Green open access

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Abstract

Dissipative accounts of structure formation show that the self-organisation of complex structures is thermodynamically favoured, whenever these structures dissipate free energy that could not be accessed otherwise. These structures therefore open transition channels for the state of the universe to move from a frustrated, metastable state to another metastable state of higher entropy. However, these accounts apply as well to relatively simple, dissipative systems, such as convection cells, hurricanes, candle flames, lightning strikes, or mechanical cracks, as they do to complex biological systems. Conversely, interesting computational properties—that characterize complex biological systems, such as efficient, predictive representations of environmental dynamics— can be linked to the thermodynamic efficiency of underlying physical processes. However, the potential mechanisms that underwrite the selection of dissipative structures with thermodynamically efficient subprocesses is not completely understood. We address these mechanisms by explaining how bifurcation-based, work-harvesting processes—required to sustain complex dissipative structures— might be driven towards thermodynamic efficiency. We first demonstrate a simple mechanism that leads to self-selection of efficient dissipative structures in a stochastic chemical reaction network, when the dissipated driving chemical potential difference is decreased. We then discuss how such a drive can emerge naturally in a hierarchy of self-similar dissipative structures, each feeding on the dissipative structures of a previous level, when moving away from the initial, driving disequilibrium.

Type: Article
Title: A drive towards thermodynamic efficiency for dissipative structures in chemical reaction networks
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/e23091115
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/e23091115
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 MDPI. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: stochastic thermodynamics; dissipative structures; thermodynamic efficiency; chemical reaction networks
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10134346
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