Technology: Time For Some Fuzzy Thinking

An oddball approach to computer science pays off in Japan

. In the pages of Books in Print, listed among works like Fuzzy Bear and Fuzzy Wuzzy Puppy, are some strange-sounding titles: Fuzzy Systems, Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy Reasoning & Its Applications. The bedtime reading of scientists gone soft in the head? No, these academic tomes are the collected output of 25 years of mostly American research in fuzzy logic, a branch of mathematics designed to help computers simulate the various kinds of vagueness and uncertainty found in everyday life. Despite a distinguished corps of devoted followers, however, fuzzy logic has been largely relegated to the back shelves of computer...

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