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A non-recommendable near synonym for information. The term has created considerable confusion suggesting that information processes negate the second law of thermodynamics by producing order from chaos. The history of the confusion stems from the mere formal analogy between Boltzmann's thermodynamic expression for entropy S = k log W and the Shannon-Wiener expression for information H = -log_2 pa. The only motivation for the negative sign in the latter is that it yields positive information quantities (the logarithm of a probability is always negative). The probability p of an event a and the thermodynamic value W including Boltzmann's constant k measure entirely different phenomena. A meaningful interpretation of negentropy is that it measures the complexity of a physical structure in which quantities of energy are invested, e.g., buildings, technical devices, organisms but also atomic reactor fuel, the infrastructure of a society. In this sense organisms may be said to become more complex by feeding not on energy but on negentropy (Schroedinger). (Krippendorff)
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