|By PR Newswire||
|January 15, 2013 03:07 PM EST||
MADRID, Jan. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) category has been granted in this fifth edition to the electrical engineer Lotfi A. Zadeh, "for the invention and development of fuzzy logic." This "revolutionary" breakthrough, affirms the jury in its citation, has enabled machines to work with imprecise concepts, in the same way humans do, and thus secure more efficient results more aligned with reality. In the last fifty years, this methodology has generated over 50,000 patents in Japan and the U.S. alone.
On hearing of the award, Zadeh remarked that it meant a lot to him for several reasons: "First, because fuzzy logic has been somewhat controversial. Some people have greeted it with enthusiasm but others have been skeptical. It also has a special significance for me because I am a great admirer of Spain and the Spanish people. I'd therefore like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to all those who were involved in my receiving this award, particularly Luis Magdalena and Enric Trillas of the European Centre for Soft Computing in Mieres, who were among those putting forward my nomination."
Classical logic, based on class membership, imposes that an element should strictly belong or not belong to a clearly demarcated set, like for instance the set of even numbers. But reality is a lot more complex. Hence we have groups, classes and sets whose boundaries are blurred, like that of "good basketball players." To belong to this set, a basketball player must "be tall" and "shoot well", but these concepts are imprecise. A binary system would specify, for example, that "be tall" equates to "measure more than 185 cm" and discard all players below this height, regardless of their shooting prowess. But fuzzy logic, like a human coach, would find room in the set of good players for one who measures 184 cm but is an excellent shooter. In this sense, what fuzzy logic does is bridge the gap between classical logic and the real world.
This indeed is what Zadeh was seeking when the began the research that led him to fuzzy logic: "As an engineer, I was always convinced that mathematics held the answers to almost any problem, but I also realized that classical mathematics was constrained by its inability to tolerate imprecision." To get over this shortcoming, Zadeh turned to the human model: "We humans have a remarkable capability to reason and make decisions in an environment of uncertainty and incompleteness of information (…). The principal objective of fuzzy logic is the formalization of this capability."
Human beings intuitively apply fuzzy logic to their decisions, juggling imprecise data and weighing up each relevant element. Zadeh's contribution was to apply such logic to the decision-making processes of systems and computers, so they cease to operate as mere calculating machines and become capable of evaluating degrees and shades of reality and deciding accordingly in an autonomous or semi-autonomous fashion (with little or no human intervention). Think, for example, of a washing machine that can select a cycle – with its length, speed and temperature – according to the drum load and the dirtiness of the laundry. Other systems can deliver the same results, but the sensors and electronics facilitated by fuzzy logic get the job done more cheaply.
According to the jury, the contributions of Lotfi A. Zadeh (Baku, Azerbaijan, 1921) have been "enthusiastically adopted by industry, where thousands of engineers have designed a whole plethora of complex and intelligent systems (…). With several tens of thousands of patents worldwide, fuzzy control is now an essential component in a wide range of consumer products, including video cameras, washing machines and medical instruments, as well as in more complex systems such as automatic trains, wastewater treatment plants, and intelligent control of car engines."
But Zadeh's work has also changed the face of numerous industrial processes, where it has simplified design, providing more efficient products that are easier to use and more tractable to change, while bringing down production costs.
A seminal paper
In 1965, Lotfi Zadeh articulated fuzzy sets for the first time in a paper that would come to be among the most cited of the 20th century, with over 35,000 mentions. And the next step from there was the development of fuzzy logic, a brilliant contribution to extending the frontiers of knowledge. Indeed Zadeh is defined in the jury's citation as the founder of "a new field of research which has proved powerful in many application domains."
The controversy around fuzzy logic began with the name: "The word fuzzy has a pejorative connotation in English, and this turned out to be a handicap when it came to gaining the acceptance of the scientific community. But it was the word that came closest to what I had in mind. In Asia, however, they don't have problems with the word fuzzy, so they were more receptive to my work. They also have a culture that accepts shades of grey, as opposed to the western – Cartesian – tradition where everything is either black or white."
This was perhaps the reason, he speculates, that one of the earliest applications of his concept was the automated subway system in the Japanese city of Sendai. The application of fuzzy logic to the network's control system enabled trains to change speeds as if they had an experienced human driver at the wheel. Indeed acceleration and braking were more even with the new system, resulting in less electricity consumption as well as a smoother ride for passengers.
Fuzzy logic opened the door to machine understanding of such imprecise instructions as "brake smoothly" or "refrigerate until the air is cool," which would be instantly understood by any human being acquainted with the system, but is utterly impenetrable for a conventional computer program. The conceptual shift was so abrupt that Zadeh initially had to face the skepticism of many scientist colleagues, until the success of the practical applications of his theory dissipated all such doubts.
Zadeh's work has enabled us to communicate with machines through an increasingly natural, human language. In the words of jury secretary, Ramon Lopez de Mantaras: "Rather than human beings having to take the time to learn the complex mathematical language of machines, fuzzy logic proposes a simpler language, so it is the machines that mimic human patterns of reasoning and behavior in order to solve problems."
The laureate, still working at the age of 91, sees this as the most promising research avenue in the fuzzy logic field, and hopes to author some further advance that will connect computers and systems more closely with natural language.
Lotfi A. Zadeh was born in 1921 in Baku, capital of the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, where his Iranian father was working as a journalist. When he was ten, the family moved to Teheran (Iran), and Lotfi was sent to an American Presbyterian missionary school. Due to an administrative oversight, he was enrolled in a class several years ahead of his supposed academic level, but this did not stop him from excelling in his studies, and obtaining the third highest score in the entire country in his university entrance exam.
Zadeh graduated as an electrical engineer from the University of Teheran in 1942, one of only three students to do so amid the disruption created by the Second World War. In 1943, he emigrated to the United States, where he took an MS in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Six years later, he earned his PhD in the same subject at Columbia University (New York), where he would teach for the next ten years. In 1959, he joined the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences in the University of California at Berkeley, where he has headed the Berkeley Initiative in Soft Computing since 1991.
He published his seminal work on fuzzy sets in 1965, and in 1968 proposed his theory of fuzzy logic. More than two decades later, in 1991, he introduced another new paradigm: soft computing, a hybrid methodology embracing fuzzy logic, neural networks, evolutive algorithms and probabilistic reasoning. Author of 245 papers, his research has been cited on more than 90,000 occasions, according to Google Scholar, and the vitality and influence of the field he created is evidenced by the number of papers – around 253,000 – that include the word "fuzzy" in their titles. Zadeh has held editorial posts at 75 specialist journals and though fuzzy sets and logic have given rise to tens of thousands of patents, not a single one is in his name.
In the last 15 years, he has been concerned with the computational scenario where data and operations may be specified in a natural language, or what he calls "computing with words."
Zadeh is a U.S. citizen but has retained his Iranian nationality.
BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards
The BBVA Foundation primarily engages in the generation and diffusion of scientific knowledge and culture, through ongoing programs in the areas of basic sciences, biomedicine, ecology and conservation biology, social sciences, literary and musical creation, and the visual arts.
Its focus on the core concerns of today's society, like health or the environment, has materialized in major research projects, including those involving the study of cancer. The Foundation's support for research, advanced training and knowledge dissemination is also manifest in a series of award families which not only honor the winners' contributions but also shed a wider light on their fields of work, the values they represent and the combined endeavors of the research and creative communities.
The BBVA Foundation established its Frontiers of Knowledge Awards in 2008 to recognize the authors of outstanding contributions and radical advances in a broad range of scientific and technological areas characteristic of our times. They are in this sense a prize family congruent with the knowledge map and central challenges of the 21st century.
The nominations received from leading universities and research and cultural centers all round the world, the independence and objectivity of the prize juries formed by reputed specialists in their respective fields, and the excellence of the laureates in their earlier editions have earned these awards, devised and organized from Spain, a firm place among the world's foremost award schemes. The BBVA Foundation is assisted in this initiative by the country's premier multidisciplinary research organization, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), and by the presence of Spanish scientists and creative practitioners on the international juries.
The CSIC collaborates in the appointment of Technical Evaluation Committees for each prize category made up of acknowledged experts in the relevant domain. This Committee undertakes an initial assessment of candidates and draws up a reasoned shortlist for the consideration of the juries.
In the ICT category, Committee members were Pedro A. Serena Domingo, a researcher in the Institute of Materials Science of Madrid (CSIC) and coordinator of the Council's Materials Science and Technology Area; Ceferino Lopez Fernandez, Research Professor at the Institute of Materials Science of Madrid (CSIC); Josep Fontcuberta Grino, Research Professor in the Institute of Materials Science of Barcelona (CSIC); and Manuel Lozano, Research Professor at the Institute of Microelectronics of Barcelona (CSIC) and coordinator of the Council's Physical Science and Technologies Area.
The Frontiers awards provide an international showcase for the best qualities of Spain and Spanish science, and have achieved the endorsement of the world scientific community, whose members have served on the juries and put forward nominations from their posts in eminent Spanish and international academic and research institutions.
In their fifth edition, the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards wish to offer support and recognition to the individuals and teams working for a better future for people through the advancement of knowledge, innovation and culture and their dissemination to society; goals and practices that are also at the center of the BBVA Group culture.
In an economic context marked by a prolonged economic crisis and the adoption of short-term measures to tackle its multiple causes and manifestations, science, the environment and culture have dropped further down the list of public priorities. The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, and the Foundation's broader program to foster scientific knowledge and culture, wish to drive home the message that these three areas are of transcendental importance for our collective wellbeing and individual opportunities.
The eight categories of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards respond to the knowledge map of the early 21st century, but also to key global challenges that have never before merited a specific honor on this scale, as with the two environmental categories – Ecology and Conservation Biology and Climate Change – and the category of Development Cooperation. These stand alongside the classic categories of Basic Sciences, Biomedicine and Economics, Finance and Management. Finally, the award family is completed by Contemporary Music, an art at the leading edge of cultural innovation to which the BBVA Foundation devotes a broad-ranging support program, and where Spain is home to a wide and talented community of authors, conductors and performers.
The jury in this category was chaired by George Gottlob, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford (United Kingdom), with Ramon Lopez de Mantaras, Director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) acting as secretary. Remaining members were Oussama Khatib, Professor in the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Computer Sciences Department of Stanford University (United States), Rudolf Kruse, Head of the Department of Knowledge Processing and Language Engineering at Otto-von-Guerike-Universitat Magdeburg (Germany), Mateo Varelo, Director of the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (Spain) and Joos Vandewalle, Head of the SDC Division in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium).
The winner in the previous edition was American electronic engineer Carver Mead, for being "the most influential thinker and pioneer" of the silicon age, and enabling "the development of the billion-transistor processors that drive the electronic devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones, DVD players – ubiquitous in our daily lives."
The award in the third edition went to American mathematician Donald E. Knuth for "making computer programming into a science." The work of this "giant among giants," in the words of the jury's citation, is considered the scaffolding upon which modern computer programs are built.
The award in the second edition was granted to engineer and mathematician Thomas Kailath, for a mathematical development permitting the production of increasingly small size chips. Finally, the winner in the inaugural edition was Israeli Jacob Ziv, the mind behind such hugely popular file formats as MP3, JPG or PDF.
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards, spanning eight prize categories, recognize research and creative work of excellence as embedded in theoretical advances, technological developments or innovative artistic works and styles, as well as fundamental contributions in addressing key challenges of the 21st century. The Foundation has been assisted in the selection of jury members and candidates by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the country's premier research organization. Nominations have been put forward by the world's most prestigious teaching and research institutions.
UPCOMING AWARD ANNOUNCEMENTS
January 22, 2013
January 29, 2013
Ecology and Conservation Biology
February 5, 2013
February 12, 2013
Economics, Finance and Management
February 19, 2013
February 26, 2013
SOURCE BBVA Foundation
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 11, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 1,110
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Dec. 11, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 2,393
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
Dec. 11, 2016 12:00 AM EST Reads: 907
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 10, 2016 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,219
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 10, 2016 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,355
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 10, 2016 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,821
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
Dec. 10, 2016 07:00 PM EST Reads: 4,158
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
Dec. 10, 2016 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,035
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 10, 2016 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,551
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 10, 2016 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,973
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 10, 2016 06:15 PM EST Reads: 1,099
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 10, 2016 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,012
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 10, 2016 05:15 PM EST Reads: 1,427
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
Dec. 10, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,842
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 10, 2016 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,933
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 10, 2016 03:30 PM EST Reads: 950
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry’s single source for the cloud. Fusion’s advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including cloud...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 792
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
Dec. 10, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 451
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
Dec. 10, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 2,178
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
Dec. 10, 2016 12:15 PM EST Reads: 7,535