Senses along Which the Entropy Sq Is Unique


The Boltzmann–Gibbs–von Neumann–Shannon additive entropy 𝑆𝐵𝐺=𝑘𝑖𝑝𝑖ln𝑝𝑖 as well as its continuous and quantum counterparts, constitute the grounding concept on which the BG statistical mechanics is constructed. This magnificent theory has produced, and will most probably keep producing in the future, successes in vast classes of classical and quantum systems.

However, recent decades have seen a proliferation of natural, artificial and social complex systems which defy its bases and make it inapplicable. This paradigmatic theory has been generalized in 1988 into the nonextensive statistical mechanics—as currently referred to—grounded on the nonadditive entropy 𝑆𝑞=𝑘1𝑖𝑝𝑞𝑖𝑞1 as well as its corresponding continuous and quantum counterparts.

In the literature, there exist nowadays over fifty mathematically well defined entropic functionals. 𝑆𝑞 plays a special role among them. Indeed, it constitutes the pillar of a great variety of theoretical, experimental, observational and computational validations in the area of complexity—plectics, as Murray Gell-Mann used to call it.

Then, a question emerges naturally, namely In what senses is entropy 𝑆𝑞 unique? The present effort is dedicated to a—surely non exhaustive—mathematical answer to this basic question.

C. Tsallis, Senses along Which the Entropy Sq Is Unique, Entropy 25(5) (2023) 743.