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Lotfi Zadeh, Father Of Fuzzy Logic Dies At 96

Professor Askarzadeh during a conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, on November 10, 2008.

The founder of Fuzzy Logic and internationally renowned Iranian mathematician, Professor Lotfali Askarzadeh died at 96, in Berkley, California.

The news of his death was announced on Iranian NASA retiree, Professor Firouz Naderi’s Twitter account on Wednesday, September 6.

Lotfali Askarzadeh, known as Lotfi Zadeh for short, was an artificial intelligence researcher, computer scientist, electrical engineer and professor emeritus of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. He paved the way for a series of amazing inventions and scientific researches.

He is best known for founding the field of “fuzzy logic” in mathematics in 1965 which enabled computers and machines to understand human instructions and expressions that are incomprehensible for conventional computer programs.

Lotfi Zadeh was born in Baku, the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan, in 1921 to an Iranian-Azeri father and a Russian Jewish mother who was also a citizen of Iran.

In 1931 alongside his family, ten years old Lotfi moved from Baku to Tehran and received a diploma from Alborz, the prestigious high school founded by an American missionary.

In 1940, he graduated in Electrical Engineering in University of Tehran. Six years later, he received his Masters in the same field from MIT and then applied to Columbia University, as his parents had settled in New York City. Columbia admitted him as a doctoral student, and offered him an instructorship as well. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Columbia in 1949, and became an assistant professor the next year.

Later, he worked as researcher and lecturer for Berkley and Princeton universities.

Lotfi Zadeh, with over twenty honorary doctorates from prestigious universities, was the author of 245 academic papers and held editorial positions in 75 scientific journals.

According to Google Scholar, as of September 2017, Zadeh's work has been cited about 180,000 times in scholarly works, with the 1965 "Fuzzy Sets" paper receiving about 90,000 citations.

His most famous invention, the Fuzzy Logic transformed industrial processes by simplifying the design of products and making them more user-friendly, efficient and easy to upgrade, while reducing production costs.

The renowned scientist also pioneered the development of the Z-transform method, along with John R. Ragazzini in 1952, in discrete time signal processing, digital signal processing, digital control and other discrete-time systems used in industry and research.

“The question really is not whether I am American, Russian, Iranian, Azerbaijani, or anything else. I have been shaped by all these people and cultures and I feel quite comfortable among all of them,” Lotfali Askarzadeh has said in an interview, in 1994.

Zadeh was married to Fay Zadeh and had two children, Stella Zadeh and Norma Zada.

The month before he died, University of Tehran released an erroneous report that Zadeh had died, but withdrew it several days later and apologized for the error.

With reporting by VOA Persian

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