Inferring entropy production rate from partially observed Langevin dynamics under coarse-graining

Aishani Ghosal, Gili Bisker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The entropy production rate (EPR) measures time-irreversibility in systems operating far from equilibrium. The challenge in estimating the EPR for a continuous variable system is the finite spatiotemporal resolution and the limited accessibility to all of the nonequilibrium degrees of freedom. Here, we estimate the irreversibility in partially observed systems following oscillatory dynamics governed by coupled overdamped Langevin equations. We coarse-grain an observed variable of a nonequilibrium driven system into a few discrete states and estimate a lower bound on the total EPR. As a model system, we use hair-cell bundle oscillations driven by molecular motors, such that the bundle tip position is observed, but the positions of the motors are hidden. In the observed variable space, the underlying driven process exhibits second-order semi-Markov statistics. The waiting time distributions (WTD), associated with transitions among the coarse-grained states, are non-exponential and convey the information on the broken time-reversal symmetry. By invoking the underlying time-irreversibility, we calculate a lower bound on the total EPR from the Kullback-Leibler divergence (KLD) between WTD. We show that the mean dwell-time asymmetry factor - the ratio between the mean dwell-times along the forward direction and the backward direction, can qualitatively measure the degree of broken time reversal symmetry and increases with finer spatial resolution. Finally, we apply our methodology to a continuous-time discrete Markov chain model, coarse-grained into a linear system exhibiting second-order semi-Markovian statistics, and demonstrate the estimation of a lower bound on the total EPR from irreversibility manifested only in the WTD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24021-24031
Number of pages11
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number39
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2022


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