UTSA brings 'father of fuzzy logic' to San Antonio for World Conference on Soft Computing

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From left are UTSA Professor Mo Jamshidi, Professor Lotfi Zadeh and UTSA President Ricardo Romo
(Photo by Mark McClendon)

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(Dec. 18, 2013) -- The "Father of Fuzzy Logic" paid a visit to The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Main Campus yesterday after being honored at the third annual World Conference on Soft Computing in downtown San Antonio. Soft computing giant Lotfi A. Zadeh met with President Ricardo Romo, and they exchanged books with one another.

At age 92, Zadeh is a mathematician, electrical engineer, computer scientist, researcher and professor who is most well known for his breakthrough discovery of fuzzy set theory, which is used widely today in many commercial and scientific applications.

Fuzzy logic allows individuals to program computers so they can mimic the imprecise way humans make decisions. This technology is now found in many real-life applications and commercial products including cars that virtually drive themselves, washing machines that automatically pick the right wash cycles and water temperature, and HVAC systems that adjust the temperature based on the number of people in a room.

Despite the advances in technology that uses fuzzy logic and artificial intelligence, Zadeh says human reasoning and emotions are very difficult to capture and machines are not even close to replacing humans.

"Machines can give the impression that they understand, but they don't really understand," he said. "The human mind is capable of doing many things that would be impossible for a robot to mimic. For example, a computer can compose music but is incapable of composing interesting and beautiful music like Tchaikovsky and other great composers."

The third annual World Conference on Soft Computing drew participants from 18 nations to hear keynote presentations from eight scholars on soft computing and to honor Lotfi A. Zadeh and his wife, Fay Zadeh. The conference was co-hosted by UTSA, the Republic of Azerbaijan Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and the Azerbaijan Technical University.

Mo Jamshidi, UTSA Lutcher Brown Endowed Distinguished Chair Professor in electrical and computer engineering, was responsible for dedicating the conference to Zadeh and inviting him to San Antonio.

>> Learn more about "Father of Fuzzy Logic" Lotfi A. Zadeh.