Azerbaijan International

Winter 1994 (2.4)

Cruising the Internet
in Pursuit of Fuzzy Logic

by Mark Hopkins

Related articles:

Interview with Lotfi Zadeh, Creator of Fuzzy Logic - by Betty Blair
Lotfi Zadeh Reflects on his Youth

Commencement Speech - When You Can't Stop For Lunch - Berkeley, 1997
What is Fuzzy Logic? - 1994
Short Biographical Sketch - Lotfi Zadeh

Looking for the quickest way to feel the pulse of what's happening worldwide in Fuzzy Logic? Then try "cruising" the "super information highway" of the Internet. Log on to the Newsgroup <> (computer-artificial intelligence-fuzzy) and you'll find yourself in a vast world with access to projects that take months and years before they will be published.

The Internet is a grand experiment in democracy. It's a bit like entering a vast room where your one tiny voice echos to the other side of the globe. One's race, nationality, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, social and economic status are set aside and the only thing that matters is the message. In a sense, it's a bit like stuffing a message into a bottle and casting it into a vast ocean. The only difference is that the right people with the right information can respond to you in minutes.

In the Fuzzy Logic Newsgroup, English is the primary language although two of the 450 messages posted during these past two months (September and October) were in Italian and German. Netters logged on from scores of countries all over the world. Germany and the UK were among the most active. But Japan, China, and Russia were conspicuously missing. (Perhaps Japan has its own network and it may be too expensive for the others. In Azerbaijan, for example, modem connection fees cost $120 per quarter which is about equivalent to a year's salary.)

Newcomers Welcome
Generally, the Fuzzy Logic Newsgroup seems to be characterized by individuals in pursuit of knowledge. As
it is a relatively new field, the "netters" seem quite patient with newcomers.
Many postings are devoted to formal announcements including "Calls for Papers", proceedings of conferences, lectures, and tutorials. For example, there was an invitation to join Lotfi Zadeh for "Tea and Cookies" on October 4 at a lecture about "Fuzzy Graphs and Information Granularity" at an "Artificial Intelligence, Vision and Robotics Conference" at Berkeley.

Conferences are worldwide. The IFSA (International Fuzzy Systems Conference) is being held in Brazil in 1995; Artificial Neural Network and Expert Systems in New Zealand; Control Systems and Computer Sciences in Bucharest, Romania. Others were slated for the Czech Republic and Portugal.

Books are a frequent topic of conversation-new books, good books, beginners' books, used technical books for sale, and professors seeking recommended texts for classes. International students were curious where they could find universities with Fuzzy Courses. Grants and Post-doctoral positions were announced from UK.

Then there's the occasional personal comment that pops up about some major figures in the field such as "Does anyone know when Zadeh is coming to Braunschieg, Germany, in 1995?" or "What is Bart Kosko's e-mail address?" (Kosko wrote a popular book about Fuzzy Thinking.)

Broad Applications
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of cruising the Internet is discovering so many new applications for Fuzzy. In the process of preparing this article about Lotfi Zadeh, Azerbaijan International posted an inquiry for the "most interesting applications of Fuzzy Logic" and received 19 personal messages within four days.

Biomedical applications are being used to diagnose breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, post-menopausal osteoporosis, and heart disease; to monitor anesthesia, blood pressure, insulin for diabetes, postoperative pain controller; to do magnetic resonance images of the brain; and to set up intelligent bedside monitors and hospital communication networks.

There were applications in finances, geography, philosophy, ecology, agricultural processes, water treatment, baggage handling at Denver International Airport, remote sensing images from satellite images, recognition of handwriting and nuclear science, stock market and weather. Boeing in Seattle has incorporated Fuzzy in a controller for Navy #6 autopilots which trails a long wire antenna for communications with submarines. Someone was even concerned about ethics, commenting that "we have basic ethical systems that operate at polarities-guilt and innocence, true and false, premeditated and meditated acts. Do we ever measure how guilty someone is? Can we apply Fuzzy Logic to ethics? Should we?"

It seems applications of Fuzzy Logic are infinite; the future, ripe for invention; and the Internet, a major pathway to discovery.

From Azerbaijan International (2.4) Winter 1994.
© Azerbaijan International 1994. All rights reserved.

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