SCIENCE TRIBUNE Thursday, June 1, 2000, Chandigarh, India
 
Fuzzy logic: A new trend
by Nirmal Singh

NOT too long ago, a relatively new math theory, the binary logic, or boolean logic along with the evolution of integrated circuitry, was pivotal in changing our thinking, our work, and the way we do business. Despite the outstanding performance of today’s computers, there is an increasing demand for higher speed, large storage capacity, more “ingenuity”that the present computer architecture cannot economically offer. In many respects, present computer technology is approaching its plateau of cost and performance. 

Cybersurfing with Amar Chandel
Causing a "tehelka" in cricket world

N
early every Indian publication today has its online edition. In most cases, it is a copy of the print version. There are a few independent Internet magazines and those function in obscurity mostly. But one site has made such a splash recently. Yes, you guessed it right: it is www.tehelka.com. It indeed caused a furore in the country by putting on the Net the script of the clandestine interviews that cricketer Manoj Prabhakar had with his colleagues. What they had been denying in public has been conceded in privacy and has shaken the cricket world to the core.

Science Quiz
by J. P. Garg

New products & discoveries

 
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Fuzzy logic: A new trend
by Nirmal Singh 

NOT too long ago, a relatively new math theory, the binary logic, or boolean logic along with the evolution of integrated circuitry, was pivotal in changing our thinking, our work, and the way we do business. Despite the outstanding performance of today’s computers, there is an increasing demand for higher speed, large storage capacity, more “ingenuity”that the present computer architecture cannot economically offer. In many respects, present computer technology is approaching its plateau of cost and performance. Therefore, it is logical for the scientific community to be in search of a solution. The future breed of processing machines should have the following specifications: faster, more potent, quickly processing massive amounts of information, learning , listening, human-like thinking and talking, and be pocket-sized. I am speaking of a real product and not of science fiction. However, for such a product to see the light of day, its architecture should be based, first, on a new theory that explains how the human brain works; i.e., how the human brain is “wired,” how it processes, stores, recalls, associates and correlates information, and second, it should be designed with novel technology.

It is only natural that human beings have a keen interest in discovering how the human mind works biologically as well as behaviourally. The quest for discovering ourselves has been an ongoing effort that started more than two thousand years ago. As soon as enough information concerning the functionality of the brain was accumulated and suitable technology emerged, the interest of technologists was sparked .Fuzzy logic has been a subject of growing interest across the full engineering spectrum, from hardware to software to materials to systems. New applications make headlines and many nations and companies are competing for a market share in the Fuzzy logic arena. Parallel to the development of other theories, fuzzy theory of fuzzy logic emerged and immediately drew the attention of technologists.

Although fuzzy logic is rigorously structured in applied mathematics, one advantage is the ability to describe systems linguistically through rule statements. One such control rule statement for an air conditioning unit might be ‘. “If temperature is high and time of the day is noon then air conditioning equals very high.” And the other for ABS as, :If the rear wheels are turning slowly and a short time ago the vehicle speed was high, then reduce rear brake pressure.” Intelligent control strategies are built on experience and experiments rather than from mathematical models. Hence, a linguistic formulation is more efficient. These strategies mostly involve a large number of inputs; Most of the inputs are only relevant for some specific condition. Using fuzzy logic, these inputs only considered in the relevant rules, keeping even complex control-system designs transparent. So fuzzy logic is true opus.

In recent years fuzzy control techniques have been applied to wide range of systems. Many electronic control systems in the automotive industry such as automatic transmissions, engine control and fuzzy anti-lock brake systems (ABS) are currently being pursued in the USA. These electronically controlled automotive systems realise superior characteristics through the use of fuzzy logic based control rather than traditional control algorithm. ABS is implemented in automobiles to ensure optimal vehicle control and minimal stopping distances during hard or emergency braking. The number of cars equipped with ABS has been increasing continuously in the last few years . ABS is now accepted as an essential contribution to vehicle safety. The methods of fuzzy logic control utilized by ABS are responsible for system performance. Intel Corporation is the leading supplier of microcontrollers for ABS and enjoys a technology agreement with Inform Software Corporation, the leading supplier of fuzzy logic tools and systems. Experts predict that 35% to 50% of all cars built worldwide will have ABS as standard equipment up to 2010. The growing interest in the automotive community to implement fuzzy logic control in automotive systems has produced several major automotive product introductions. The 1998 Mitsubishi Gallant used fuzzy logic to control its automotive systems. General Motors' highly successful Saturn utilises fuzzy logic for automatic transmission shift control.

Fuzzy logic will become a commonly used technology with high performance and low costs as the large numbers of successful applications are coming up, as well as a development methodology have evolved. A new design technology named "Fuzzy logic”, has been pitched as the “magic bullet" for every type of engineering problem. Unlike the USA, in Asia and Europe the discussion about fuzzy logic has been much less fanatical and was kept closer to the real benefits of the technology. Here, fuzzy logic is considered to be one of the many tools necessary to build systems solutions in a fast, cost-effective, and transparent fashion.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Beant College of Engineering and Technology, Gurdaspur.Top

 

Cybersurfing with Amar Chandel
Causing a "tehelka" in cricket world

Nearly every Indian publication today has its online edition. In most cases, it is a copy of the print version. There are a few independent Internet magazines and those function in obscurity mostly. But one site has made such a splash recently. Yes, you guessed it right: it is www.tehelka.com. It indeed caused a furore in the country by putting on the Net the script of the clandestine interviews that cricketer Manoj Prabhakar had with his colleagues. What they had been denying in public has been conceded in privacy and has shaken the cricket world to the core.

One learns that the website has a former print journalist, Tarun Tejpal, at its head while Anirudha Bahal, who wrote extensively in Outlook on the match-fixing scandal, is one of the investigative reporters. They may have caused a furore but that brings one to ethical questions. How proper is it to catch people off-guard. If similar interviews were conducted on say television there would have been hell to pay for. Should the same rules apply in the case of websites? That is a grey area and the answers can vary according to personal choice. But one thing is clear. Internet journalism has come of age, what if in an undesirable, unexpected manner!

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The Internet has proved its efficacy in an even more dramatic manner in the case of recent happenings in Fiji. There would have been a severe shortage of information about such a remote place in the South Pacific even at the best of times. A total drought was very much likely following a news blackout when George Speight held the Prime Minister and others hostage on May 19. However, the world continued to get the latest information about the island nation thanks to www.fijilive.com which updated facts every 15 minutes.

Ironically, the managing director of the small independent online news site is a person of Indian ancestry, Mr Yashwant Gaunder, who insists: "We are not taking sides. Information is coming through our reporters at the scene and radio news broadcast by coup leaders".

Fijilive had also been holding an online forum but withdrew it after the contributions became racial.

Besides news, the site also gave exclusive pictures that were reproduced the world over. Providing so much of information at a time when capital Suva was under curfew and terrestrial telephones had been cut must have been a difficult task. Fijilive is lucky to have its server in the USA.

A journalist of the news site was at Parliament and conveyed the speech of coup leader George Speight on the mobile phone.

The site is connected to a local political and business magazine, Review, which has been in circulation for the past eight years, while the website was started 14 months ago "because we saw the growing importance of the Net".

"We are a commercial organisation," Yashwant adds. "Independent --not supported by big business or anyone -- just a group of hardworking journalists and young people." He says the project has already spent $2,50,000 with money coming from sister companies and Review.

During quieter times the site's five senior journalists spend most of their time working on Review, and "only do website work when necessary".

Other websites from the same stable include ones for e-commerce, business news, domain names, tourism, soccer and last but not least a site for online dating (love.com.fj).

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While news sites grab the centrestage, professional niche sites are doing good business. If automobiles are your passion, one site worth a dekko is www.cybersteering.com. Like any auto magazine, it focuses on various topics of motoring interest. While in the latest issue it takes Maruti Wagon-R and Toyota Qualis on a test drive, it also enlightens you about wankel engines, Bullet motor cycle, history of famous cars and popular misconceptions about tyres.

An interesting tongue in cheek feature is on travelling in Bihar. 
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Science Quiz
by J. P. Garg

1. A college in Punjab has been named in honour of this Punjabi scientist who played a crucial role in the development of Indian space programme. Name this son of the soil who was born in 1920 and is now leading a retired life. Can you also name the college?

2. At present Internet connection needs a telephone line but we may soon be able to make this connection without a phone line. Through a device we will be able to receive perfect signals in any remote corner of the world, no matter what the weather conditions may be, and listen to different programmes through the Internet. What type of device can it possibly be?

3. Modern PCR technique can help identify specific defects in body’s genetic structure which could lead to diseases like thalassaemia. What does PCR stand for?

4. Chloroform, generally used as a solvent in the laboratory, is stored in dark coloured bottles. Can you suggest a reason?

5. This element of the halogen group is often considered a double - edged weapon. On the one hand, it is an essential element for human health and a certain amount of its compounds in drinking water is necessary. On the other hand, in high dosages it is toxic leading to several ailments like dental fluorosis, deformities in red blood cells and bone structure, nervousness, painful skin rashes, etc. Which element are we talking about?

6. If you were a student of “taxonomy”, what would you be studying? What are the three main branches of taxonomy?

7. Optical fibres are used to transmit digital information in the form of pulses of light, in telecommunication, in an endoscope for internal observation of body organs by doctors and for many other purposes. Which basic optical principle is involved in the action of optical fibres?

8. This powdery material produced in huge quantities is a big environmental hazard. It can be used as an ingredient for the manufacture of quality bricks, thus serving a double purpose. Which material are we talking about and how is it produced in large quantities?

9. In which type of forests is the maximum diversity of animal and plant species found?

10. NMRF is an observatory of Indian Space Research Organisation located at Godanki near Triputi (Tamil Nadu) used for making ground-based observations of rockets and satellites. What is the full form of NMRF?

Answers
1. Satish Dhawan; S.D. Govern-ment P.G. College, Ludhiana. 2. A satellite radio receiver. 3. Polymerase chain reaction. 4. Chloroform decomposes in sunlight and produces poisonous carbonyl chloride. 5. Fluorine 6. Classification and nomenclature of all living organisms; classical, biochemical and cytotaxonomy. 7. Total internal reflection. 8. Flyash; from coalbased power plants. 9. Tropical moist forests. 10. National Mesosp-here Stratosphere Tropos-phere Radar Facility.

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New products & discoveries

Signature recognition
Israeli researchers have come up with a new signature recognition system that stores information on signatures in a unique way and transmits it over networks after encryption. It can even cope with natural variations in a signature resulting from conditional problems like age, mood and standing position.

Minor changes in signatures is a big problem for some latest electronic devices that use signatures instead of passwords or postal index number (PINs).

The fact that one may be standing in an awkward position when one is signing, or lack of space on a shop counter to sign properly, may also influence how one signs.

Diamond micromachines
US researchers claim to have developed the world’s first diamond micromachines etched from the surface of amorphous diamond, which have longer life span and perform better.

The micromachines are manufactured the way chips and surface micromachines are produced from silicon, say researchers from Sandia National Laboratories who have developed the devices.

Diamond interests researchers because of its superior wear-resistant qualities, resistance to stiction — a combination of stickiness and friction — and potential as a biocompatible material that can be used inside the human body for medical purposes without generating an allergic reaction.

Micromachines wear, even it it’s only at the micro level. Diamond is more wear-resistant than polysilicon.

As diamond is compatible with silicon, it can be used in a silicon micromachine, for additional strength and durability. It may be used in the future as a complete replacement for polysilicon.

Computer speeds may double
A new thermoelectric material that may some day double the speed at which a computer operates has been discovered by a team of US scientists.

When jolted with an electrical current, the temperature of current thermoelectric materials can drop by as much as 60 degrees. The new material could make the drop as great as 100 degrees.

Eventually, it can be used to cool items such as computer chips, which operate much more efficiently at lower temperatures, say the scientists who include those from Michigan State University.

The discovery of the material, which is a combination of three elements — cesium, bismuth and tellurium — was reported in the journal Science.

‘‘We are excited about this material because it out-performs the current material at this lower temperature range,’’ says Mercouri Kanatzidis, an MSU professor of chemistry. The material currently used in this process was discovered in the 1950s and since then no one has been able to do better, according to a release from the university.


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