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International conference held for first time in U.S. at Penn State Great Valley|
By David Jwanier
| Ninety-three of the greatest minds in the field of artificial intelligence from 23 countries gathered at Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies for the third annual International Conference on Rough Sets and Current Trends in Computing, a world-class event that made its first-ever appearance in the United States in 2002. The conference has been held in Poland and Canada.|
Rough Sets and its soft-computing cousin, Fuzzy Logic, have been used in control systems for camcorders, for robotic control and in the operation of railway systems, chemical plants, etc. Rough Sets are based on set approximations constructed from available background knowledge, where often only partial knowledge about approximated concepts is available. Fuzzy Logic principles use approximate or fuzzy-valued measurements and linguistic descriptions in place of concrete numbers. The hope is that Rough Sets and, to a lesser extent, Fuzzy Logic, can be used for more applications in the future.
One of the things that distinguishes Fuzzy Logic and Rough Sets from other forms of computing and artificial intelligence, such as neural networks and expert systems, is their ability to deal with odd situations, Dr. David Russell, professor of electrical engineering and head of the Engineering Division at Penn State Great Valley, said. Because of this, I expect that the use of Fuzzy Logic and Rough Sets will continue to increase in the future. In addition to the key themes of Fuzzy Logic and Rough Sets, the conference also covered areas of immediate interest to surrounding industries. Many important topics, such as evolutionary computing, Web intelligence, granular computing and machine learning were addressed.
Participants who attended the conference had an opportunity to learn directly from the men who founded Rough Sets and Fuzzy Logic. Rough Sets innovator Dr. Zdzislaw Pawlak of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Poland served as co-honorary conference chair and keynote speaker, as did the father of Fuzzy Logic, Dr. Lotfi Zadeh of the University of California at Berkeley.
This was a tremendous opportunity for all of the participants to learn from the masters, as well as each other, Dr. James Alpigini, conference chair and assistant professor of systems engineering at Penn State Great Valley, said. Alpigini attracted this prestigious event to Penn State Great Valley, because of its academic reputation for both teaching and research and also for its world-class conference facilities.
Russell said he also was pleased to have the conference at Penn State Great Valley, because it gave some of the schools engineering students the opportunity to interact with world-class people in their field, something they also get to do to some extent through the campus Research Institute, a 3-credit program available to software and systems engineering students that brings top researchers to campus.
While conference participants were way ahead of the knowledge curve of most folks when it came to Rough Sets Theory and Fuzzy Logic, there were other areas where they could learn something from the Philadelphia area.
We tried our best to give them a taste of the Philadelphia experience, so we brought in cheesesteaks and Tastykakes for participants to eat for lunch, Russell said.
In addition, many members visited famous Philadelphia sites, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. They also were treated to a smooth jazz performance by Penn State Great Valley Associate Professor Eric Steins band, which often performs at events on campus.