One of these days, I happened to search for “fuzzy logic” on wikipedia and I was amazed to find out that they cite another researcher, R.H. Wilkinson, in stead of the well known Lotfi Zadeh, as the author of the first paper on fuzzy logic. Wikipedia says:
The first paper on Fuzzy Logic (defined as a multivalued logic based upon set theory) was published by R.H. Wilkinson in 1963 following his first proposals in his 1961 Electrical Engineering master thesis. He was the first one to redefine the earlier multivalued logics in terms of set theory.
I could not believe my eyes. This blew my mind.I got introduced to the exciting field of fuzzy logic way back in 2001 while working as Staff Associate in Electronics and Computer Engineering at the Polytechnic, a constituent college of Malawi. Since that time, I have read a lot about Fuzzy Logic. All this time, I have known Lotfi Zadeh as the author of the first paper on Fuzzy Logic.i.e. Zadeh, L.A. (1965). “Fuzzy sets”, Information and Control 8 (3): 338-353. After this seminal paper, he went to publish lots of papers in the field and he is known worldwide as the Father of Fuzzy Logic. Two years ago, I listened to him speaking on A New Frontier in Computation – Computation with Information Described in Natural Language at the IEEE World Congress on Computational Intelligence (WCCI 2006) in Vancouver. I really enjoyed his plenary talk. But this revelation by wikipedia has really surprised me. Wikipedia further points that
In 1965 Lotfi Zadeh (then an Electrical Engineering systems professor) axiomatized the logic of Wilkinson without the electrical circuits and without giving Wilkinson any credit.
Several questions have to be asked. Is Zadeh still the Father of Fuzzy Logic? Why did the big man forget to refer to Wilkinson’s paper in his 1965 paper? But did he really know anything about Wilkinson’s work? Remember that there was no Internet at that time. I am sure it was not that easy for one to know the existence of other researchers’ publications, especially the most recent ones. Google was no there! On the other hand, if R.H.Wilkinson was such a brilliant researcher, why is it that we do not see his research works after that great paper? If we look at the status of these two scientists at that time, we see that Zadeh was already advanced in terms of his career having obtained his PhD in 1959 while Wilkinson only obtained his Masters degree in 1961. Wilkinson, being younger, we should have been seeing more work from him on this subject. Maybe, I am speaking too much because I am pro-Zadeh. Can those of you in the know please help me and other readers with more information on this issue.