Lotfi Zadeh: Who Was She? The Azerbaijani American Scientist is Honored in a Google Doodle


The Google Doodle for today, November 30, is dedicated to Lotfi Zadeh, a late Azerbaijani American computer scientist who pioneered the "fuzzy logic" mathematical framework.

On this date in 1964, Zadeh published "Fuzzy Sets," a seminal study that established the fuzzy logic notion, which has subsequently been used to a variety of technologies, including the Japanese subway system and anti-skid algorithms that keep automobiles safe on the road.

Zadeh was born on February 4, 1921 in Baku, Azerbaijan (then part of the embryonic Soviet Socialist republic), and went to Iran with his family when he was ten years old. He later earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Tehran before pursuing a phd at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During his first ten years of study and teaching at Columbia University in New York City, where he got his PhD in electrical engineering in 1949, the scientist's research began to take form.

He co-authored a research article with Columbia professor John R. Ragazzini in 1952. The z-transform approach was presented in the article, and it is now widely utilized in digital-signal processing systems.

In 1957, Zadeh was elevated to full professor of systems theory at Columbia University, where he lectured. He was appointed as a professor at the University of California (UC) Berkeley's department of electrical engineering two years later, where he spent 58 years as a faculty member and conducted his groundbreaking work on fuzzy logic.

In 1965, Zadeh released his article "Fuzzy Sets." His idea offered an alternative to classical logic's strict constraints, allowing for more ambiguous or "fuzzy" bounds that more closely reflected how people see the world.

According to UC Berkeley, Zadeh's fuzzy logic framework served as the foundation for a variety of current daily technology, including facial recognition, air conditioning, washing machines, vehicle gearboxes, weather forecasting, stock trading, and rice cookers.

According to Google, Zadeh's famous study has been mentioned approximately 100,000 times, making it one of the most cited publications in the history of the information sciences.

The US patent database has more than 33,000 patents and applications with "fuzzy" in the title, with tens of thousands of deployed applications ranging from camera focusing systems to automated train controls and other industrial technology.

Zadeh has won several national and international honors, including the renowned Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) Education Award, and has been elected to several academic organizations, including the United States National Academy of Engineering.

He was a fellow of the IEEE, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Computing Machinery, Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence as well as the International Fuzzy Systems Association.

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