'49 Lotfi Zadeh

"Father of Fuzzy Logic"

The 2009 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Electrical Engineering was recently presented to Lotfi Zadeh PhD EE'49 for his invention and development of the field of fuzzy logic, a mathematical system that captures aspects of the ambiguity of human language and thought, which has solved problems in areas such as artificial intelligence and the automated control of machines. Zadeh received the Egleston Medal for Distinguished Engineering Achievement in 2007 from the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association. Prof. Zadeh, “the father of fuzzy logic,” was honored for his contributions to fields as diverse as artificial intelligence, control theory and linguistics.

Zadeh, an internationally renowned computer and information systems expert, received a PhD degree from Columbia Engineering in 1949, following MS and BS degrees conferred by MIT and the University of Tehran, respectively. He was on the faculty of the School’s Department of Electrical Engineering and at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Studies before joining the faculty at Berkeley, where he spent much of his professional career. Dr. Zadeh has attained international recognition for his pioneering work in systems theory and decision analysis and on the computational theory of perceptions, which resulted in the development of a new field of natural language and the field of “fuzzy logic.”

The recipient of 25 honorary degrees from universities world-wide, he has been elected a Fellow of the IEEE, AAAS, ACM, AAAI, IFSA, and the National Academy of Engineering. He holds numerous international prizes, medals and awards, single-authored over 200 major papers, and has served on 25 editorial boards throughout his career.

Zadeh was born in Baku, Azerbaijan and grew up in Iran. He earned his B.S.E.E. from the University of Tehran in 1942, and his M.S.E.E. from MIT in 1946. He went on to receive a Ph.D. from Columbia in 1949, where he remained on faculty until 1963, and then moved to the University of California, Berkeley where he is now a professor emeritus. He has also been director of the Berkeley Institute of Soft Computing since 1991.

Posted: Dec. 7, 2009

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