The Google Doodle on Tuesday paid tribute to late Azerbaijani American computer scientist, the innovator of mathematical framework known as ‘fuzzy logic’, Lotfi Zadeh.
On November 30 in 1964, Zadeh introduced his fuzzy logic concept. It is an approach to computing based on “degrees of truth” rather than the usual “true or false” (1 or 0) Boolean logic. His paper – ‘Fuzzy Sets’ – has been applied to technologies, from the Japanese subway system to anti-skid algorithms that keep cars safe on the road.
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Zadeh’s ‘Fuzzy Sets’ is considered as one of the greatest contributions to computer science. The concept, in contrast to the binary form of mathematics and computers, said that the real world is hardly ever so perfectly polarized. The paper argued that most things fall somewhere in between the 0 and 1. Zadeh showed the usefulness of the infinite number of decimal places between 0 and 1 in fuzzy mathematics.
Lotfi Zadeh moved to his father’s homeland Iran from Baku, Azerbaijan when he was 10 years old. He graduated from the University of Tehran. Zadeh then continues his education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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He taught at the Columbia University in New York City for 10 years and earned his PhD in electrical engineering from there. Zadeh jointly produced a research paper with Columbia professor John R. Ragazzini in 1952. The paper introduced the z-transform method, which is widely used today in digital-signal processing systems.
Only five years later, Zadeh was promoted to full professorship. He was then appointed as a professor at the department of electrical engineering at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, where he spent 58 years as a faculty member and developed the ‘fuzzy logic’.
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Zadeh’s famed paper became one the most cited papers in the history of the information sciences. He received several national and international awards and was elected as a member of various academic institutions such as the U.S. National Academy of Engineering.
He died on September 6 in 2017.