Entropy Production in Exactly Solvable Systems

Entropy (Basel). 2020 Nov 3;22(11):1252. doi: 10.3390/e22111252.


The rate of entropy production by a stochastic process quantifies how far it is from thermodynamic equilibrium. Equivalently, entropy production captures the degree to which global detailed balance and time-reversal symmetry are broken. Despite abundant references to entropy production in the literature and its many applications in the study of non-equilibrium stochastic particle systems, a comprehensive list of typical examples illustrating the fundamentals of entropy production is lacking. Here, we present a brief, self-contained review of entropy production and calculate it from first principles in a catalogue of exactly solvable setups, encompassing both discrete- and continuous-state Markov processes, as well as single- and multiple-particle systems. The examples covered in this work provide a stepping stone for further studies on entropy production of more complex systems, such as many-particle active matter, as well as a benchmark for the development of alternative mathematical formalisms.

Keywords: active matter; entropy production; exact results; stochastic thermodynamics.