The Importance of Being Fuzzy
And Other Insights from the Border Between Math and Computers
By (author) Arturo Sangalli
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Importance of Being Fuzzy by Arturo Sangalli
Book DescriptionHow has computer science changed mathematical thinking? In this first ever comprehensive survey of the subject for popular science readers, Arturo Sangalli explains how computers have brought a new practicality to mathematics and mathematical applications. By using fuzzy logic and related concepts, programmers have been able to sidestep the traditional and often cumbersome search for perfect mathematical solutions to embrace instead solutions that are "good enough." If mathematicians want their work to be relevant to the problems of the modern world, Sangalli shows, they must increasingly recognize "the importance of being fuzzy." As Sangalli explains, fuzzy logic is a technique that allows computers to work with imprecise terms--to answer questions with "maybe" rather than just "yes" and "no." The practical implications of this flexible type of mathematical thinking are remarkable. Japanese programmers have used fuzzy logic to develop the city of Sendai's unusually energy-efficient and smooth-running subway system--one that does not even require drivers. Similar techniques have been used in fields as diverse as medical diagnosis, image understanding by robots, the engineering of automatic transmissions, and the forecasting of currency exchange rates. Sangalli also explores in his characteristically clear and engaging manner the limits of classical computing, reviewing many of the central ideas of Turing and Godel. He shows us how "genetic algorithms" can solve problems by an evolutionary process in which chance plays a fundamental role. He introduces us to "neural networks," which recognize ill-defined patterns without an explicit set of rules--much as a dog can be trained to scent drugs without ever having an exact definition of "drug." Sangalli argues that even though "fuzziness" and related concepts are often compared to human thinking, they can be understood only through mathematics--but the math he uses in the book is straightforward and easy to grasp. Of equal appeal to specialists and the general reader, The Importance of Being Fuzzy reveals how computer science is changing both the nature of mathematical practice and the shape of the world around us.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691001449
(229mm x 152mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 2-Nov-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Arturo Sangalli
Pythagoras' Revenge, Paperback (July 2011)
Set in 1998 with flashbacks to classical Greece, this title investigates the confrontation between opposing views of mathematics and reality, and explores ideas from both early and cutting-edge mathematics.
Mathematical Century, Paperback (October 2006)
Concentrates on thirty highlights of pure and applied mathematics. This book opens by discussing the four main philosophical foundations of mathematics of the nineteenth century and ends by describing the four important open mathematical problems of the twenty-first century.
Quantum Philosophy, Paperback (February 2002)» View all books by Arturo Sangalli
Reviews the history and development of mathematics, logic, and the physical sciences. This book offers an account of the developments in science and the philosophy of knowledge from the pre-Socratic era to the nineteenth century.
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