Microcanonical origin of the maximum entropy principle for open systems

Julian Lee, Steve Pressé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


There are two distinct approaches for deriving the canonical ensemble. The canonical ensemble either follows as a special limit of the microcanonical ensemble or alternatively follows from the maximum entropy principle. We show the equivalence of these two approaches by applying the maximum entropy formulation to a closed universe consisting of an open system plus bath. We show that the target function for deriving the canonical distribution emerges as a natural consequence of partial maximization of the entropy over the bath degrees of freedom alone. By extending this mathematical formalism to dynamical paths rather than equilibrium ensembles, the result provides an alternative justification for the principle of path entropy maximization as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041126
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Microcanonical origin of the maximum entropy principle for open systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this