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Li Xin Wang

Li Xin Wang

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Published by Carlos Moran

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Published by: Carlos Moran on Mar 16, 2012
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09/06/2013

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Why has there been such intensive debate on fuzziness versus probability? Besides
the philosophical and technical differences, it might be helpful to notice the profes-
sional differences between scientists (most probabilists are scientists) and engineers
(most possibilists are engineers). In some sense, the business of a scientist is to be
skeptical of all claims, whereas a good engineer should be open minded and keeps
all options open. Indeed, an ultimate goal of science is to discover the fundamental
principles governing the universe; whereas the task of engineering is to build up
things that did not exist in the universe before. Consequently, scientists are usu-
ally critical and concentrate on finding the defects in claims or theories; whereas
engineers are typically pragmatists and use whatever methods that can best solve
the problem. Therefore, from an engineer's perspective, we should definitely use
the techniques provided by fuzzy theory as long as they can help us to produce
good products, no matter what probabilists say about fuzzy theory. If some day
in the future probabilists provide design tools for problems that are now solved by
fuzzy techniques, we should definitely try them and compare them with their fuzzy
counterparts. We would like to conclude this section, and this book, by quoting
from Zadeh [1995]:

In many cases there is more to be gained from cooperation than from
arguments over which methodology is best. A case in point is the
concept of soft computing. Soft computing is not a methodology
-- it is a partnership of methodologies that function effectively in
an environment of imprecision and/or uncertainty and are aimed at
exploiting the tolerance for imprecision, uncertainty, and partial

Sec. 31.5. Summary and Further Readings

403

truth to achieve tractability, robustness, and low solution costs. At

this juncture, the principal constituents of soft computing are fuzzy

logic, neurocomputing, and probabilistic reasoning, with the latter

subsuming genetic algorithms, evidential reasoning, and parts of

learning and chaos theories.

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