Article: Marginal and Conditional Second Laws of Thermodynamics

Gavin E. Crooks and Susanne Still, EPL 125:40005 (2019).

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We show that the total entropy production of a strongly coupled bipartite system can be partitioned into components, which can be used to define local versions of the Second Law that are valid without the usual idealization of weak coupling. The key insight is that causal intervention offers a way to identify those parts of the entropy production that result from feedback between the subsystems. All central relations describing the thermodynamics of strongly coupled systems follow from this observation in a few lines.