Soft Computing: The Technology for Future

 


Human race is advancing a little more with each passing day. New inventions are being brewed every other day and life is becoming more and more luxurious. There are many tasks that are being undertaken by machines and AI based systems instead of human beings.  


There are many complex real-life problems like stock market predictions in business, computer-aided diagnosis in medical, handwritten recognition in fraud detection, image retrieval, etc., which cannot be solved by hard computing. As a solution to all these problems, we have Soft Computing.


So, the very next question we have is ‘What is Soft Computing?’ Let us get to know from history.


Short Flashback to the history of Flash Computing


The phrase ‘Soft Computing’ was coined by Lofti A.Zadeh, a pioneer in the computing field, in the early 1990s. Soft computing is not a single computational technique. Rather, it is a family of techniques with the capacity to solve a class of problems for which the other conventional techniques are found inadequate. The principles of soft computing, as on today, include fuzzy systems, rough set theory, artificial neural networks, probabilistic reasoning, and evolutionary search strategies.  


In simple you can define Soft Computing as the use of appropriate calculations to provide imprecise but usable solutions to complex computational problems. This is an approach to problem-solving using means other than computers. 


TECHNIQUES OF SOFT COMPUTING:


• Fuzzy Logic:


Logic is the study of structures and principles of reasoning and sound argument. In real life we face situations where there is no sharp distinction between truth and falsehood. Fuzzy logic accepts this state of affair and builds a system of reasoning based on infinite shades of truth. This logic is used in facial pattern recognition, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners, unmanned helicopters, etc.


The following video will help you more in understanding fuzzy logic and sets.

https://youtu.be/a2i-lHS-c_I


 Artificial Neural Networks:


Artificial neural networks are inspired by the structure and functionality of the human brain. Neural networks are trained by providing sample classification data over and over again and making adjustments in their weight vectors so that they become experienced enough to classify unknown patterns successfully where learning is either supervised or unsupervised. 


You can get know more about neural networks here: https://youtu.be/bfmFfD2RIcg


• Evolutionary Search Strategies:


Complex optimization problems require advanced search techniques to obtain workable solutions within a reasonable time-frame. Genetic Algorithms (GA) and Simulated Annealing (SA) are two search strategies that are inspired by natural evolutionary processes and can overcome the problem. GA is a complex search process inspired by natural evolution. SA is a technique for finding good solutions to minimization problems.


APPLICATION AREAS OF SOFT COMPUTING:


Soft computing has already found many applications in numerous industries, both business and consumer-centric types. Here are a few applications of soft computing.


1. Home appliances:


Our everyday appliances such as refrigerator, washing machines, and air conditioners are becoming very smart due to these techniques. They can communicate with users and change their settings automatically according to the load. This seems like some childhood imagination!


2. Speech and vision recognition system:


The speech recognition system can decode the human voice. Voice recognition is used to operate a device, perform commands, or write without using a keyboard, mouse, or press any buttons.


Voice assistants are now available on hundreds of devices worldwide, including smart phones, TVs, tablets, smart watches, and more. Most of us know Siri, OK Google, Alexa, Cortana which provides us speech to text flexibility and understand our commands which are being used in official meetings, retail, etc. Visual speech recognition (also known as lip reading) is considered to be one of the most futuristic applications. Sounds like some Marvel movie, right!


3. Robotics:


This is one of the very upcoming fields to use soft computing’s fuzzy logic and expert system techniques. Robotics is based on human thinking and behaviour. Present-day intelligence is considered to be interactive information processing among humans and artificial objects. 


Some of the large e-commerce companies are employing robots with soft computing embedded to help manage the load of goods that go through a warehouse daily. Soon, the Robotics era will take over many aspects of life and make it even more comfortable. 


4. Transportation:


Right from the production of cars in the factory to being on the road for navigation, traffic prediction, troubleshooting and diagnosis of the car, fuzzy logic and evolutionary computing are widely used. 


Same solutions are also used in elevators when a single system is in charge of handling multiple elevators.


5Health care:


By the application of soft computing, the results of diagnosis are more accurate.Doctors are increasingly turning towards soft computing to diagnose the patients’ ailments from the symptoms accurately and hence save on money and side effects from medications of wrong diagnosis.


We also have digital consultant apps like Ada Health, Your MD to give medical consultation based on personal medical history and common health knowledge.

There are many developments in this field recently like big data, recommended system, behaviour and decision science, data mining etc. It is interesting to note that, given enough data to build upon; machine can perform as good as a human and even better in some scenarios. Soft Computing may not be a relatively new topic, but surely is the technology that is here to stay for the future. 


Written by - Sravanthi Cheerladinne

Edited by - Neha Kundu

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