The 2012 BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Information and Communication Technologies goes to Professor Lotfi Zadeh for the invention and development of fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic, a revolutionary concept and methodology that created a new field of research, which proved powerful in many application domains.
In a seminal paper, published in 1965, Zadeh introduced fuzzy sets, a qualitative approach in which linguistic rather than numeric variables are employed to describe the performance and behavior of complex systems. This paradigm very significantly contributed to the progress of reasoning with imprecise concepts and provided a new approach to qualitatively represent human knowledge. Over nearly a half a century, this methodology has established a new field of research involving thousands of researchers around the world as well as new journals and conferences.
Zadeh’s contributions have been enthusiastically adopted by industry where thousands of engineers have designed a whole plethora of complex and intelligent systems. In fact, Zadeh’s fuzzy methodologies have been impressively useful in real-world applications. With several tens of thousands of patents worldwide, fuzzy control is now an essential component in a wide range of consumer products including video cameras, washing machines, and medical instruments, as well as in more complex systems such as automatic trains, wastewater treatment plants, and intelligent control of car engines.