Soft computing has experienced major advances in actuator and sensor technology, computing technology, and the emergence of a collection of new tools that can solve problems in an unconventional yet effective way:
- Artificial neural networks are constructed from identical data processing elements arranged in some regular pattern. These networks exhibit surprising abilities to capture non-linear relationships among variables, perform pattern classification and feature extraction, and encode associate memory, among others.
- Fuzzy logic can emulate human-like rule-based operations using linguistic terms such as "if it starts to become hot, turn the temperature down a little bit."
- Genetic algorithms give us a new way to perform optimization without actually solving equations in the traditional sense.
Other soft computing techniques such as DNA computing and simulated annealing are also very intriguing. Our research finds ways to apply these tools to problems such as the control of a magneto-hydrodynamic power generators for hypersonic aircraft, and the evolution of a robot's rule base for obstacle avoidance and target acquisition.
Faculty contact: Minh Q. Phan