JACIII Vol.2 No.3 pp. 69-71
doi: 10.20965/jaciii.1998.p0069


Intelligent Engineering Systems

Imre J. Rudas

June 20, 1998

Building intelligent systems has been one of the great challenges since the early days of human culture. From the second half of the 18th century, two revolutionary changes played the key role in technical development, hence in creating engineering and intelligent engineering systems. The industrial revolution was made possible through technical advances, and muscle power was replaced by machine power. The information revolution of our time, in turn, canbe characterized as the replacement of brain power by machine intelligence. The technique used to build engineering systems and replace muscle power can be termed “Hard Automation”1) and deals with industrial processes that are fixed and repetitive in nature. In hard automation, the system configuration and the operations are fixed and cannot be changed without considerable down-time and cost. It can be used, however, particularly in applications calling for fast, accurate operation, when manufacturing large batches of the same product. The “intelligent” area of automation is “Soft Automation,” which involves the flexible, intelligent operation of an automated process. In flexible automation, the task is programmable and a work cell must be reconfigured quickly to accommodate a product change. It is particularly suitable for plant environments in which a variety of products is manufactured in small batches. Processes in flexible automation may have unexpected or previously unknown conditions, and would require a certain degree of “machine” intelligence to handle them.The term machine intelligence has been changing with time and is machinespecific, so intelligence in this context still remains more or less a mysterious phenomenon. Following Prof. Lotfi A. Zadeh,2) we consider a system intelligent if it has a high machine intelligence quotient (MIQ). As Prof. Zadeh stated, “MIQ is a measure of intelligence of man-made systems,” and can be characterized by its well defined dimensions, such as planning, decision making, problem solving, learning reasoning, natural language understanding, speech recognition, handwriting recognition, pattern recognition, diagnostics, and execution of high level instructions.Engineering practice often involves complex systems having multiple variable and multiple parameter models, sometimes with nonlinear coupling. The conventional approaches for understanding and predicting the behavior of such systems based on analytical techniques can prove to be inadequate, even at the initial stages of setting up an appropriate mathematical model. The computational environment used in such an analytical approach is sometimes too categoric and inflexible in order to cope with the intricacy and complexity of real-world industrial systems. It turns out that, in dealing with such systems, one must face a high degree of uncertainty and tolerate great imprecision. Trying to increase precision can be very costly.In the face of the difficulties above, Prof. Zadeh proposes a different approach for Machine Intelligence. He separates Hard Computing techniques based Artificial Intelligence from Soft Computing techniques based Computational Intelligence.•Hard computing is oriented toward the analysis and design of physical processes and systems, and is characterized by precision, formality, and categorization. It is based on binary logic, crisp systems, numerical analysis, probability theory, differential equations, functional analysis, mathematical programming approximation theory, and crisp software.•Soft computing is oriented toward the analysis and design of intelligent systems. It is based on fuzzy logic, artificial neural networks, and probabilistic reasoning, including genetic algorithms, chaos theory, and parts of machine learning, and is characterized by approximation and dispositionality.In hard computing, imprecision and uncertainty are undesirable properties. In soft computing, the tolerance for imprecision and uncertainty is exploited to achieve an acceptable solution at low cost, tractability, and a high MIQ. Prof. Zadeh argues that soft rather than hard computing should be viewed as the foundation of real machine intelligence. A center has been established – the Berkeley Initiative for Soft Computing (BISC) – and he directs it at the University of California, Berkeley. BISC devotes its activities to this concept.3) Soft computing, as he explains2),•is a consortium of methodologies providing a foundation for the conception and design of intelligent systems,•is aimed at formalizing of the remarkable human ability to make rational decision in an uncertain, imprecise environment.The guiding principle of soft computing, given by Prof. Zadeh2) is: Exploit the tolerance for imprecision, uncertainty, and partial truth to achieve tractability, robustness, low solution cost, and better rapport with reality.Fuzzy logic is mainly concerned with imprecision and approximate reasoning, neurocomputing mainly with learning and curve fitting, genetic computation mainly with searching and optimization and probabilistic reasoning mainly with uncertainty and propagation of belief. The constituents of soft computing are complementary rather than competitive. Experience gained over the past decade indicates that it can be more effective to use them combined, rather than exclusively.Based on this approach, machine intelligence, including artificial intelligence and computational intelligence (soft computing techniques) is one pillar of Intelligent Engineering Systems. Hundreds of new results in this area are published in journals and international conference proceedings. One such conference, organized in Budapest, Hungary, on September 15-17, 1997, was titled’IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Engineering Systems 1997′ (INES’97), sponsored by the IEEE Industrial Electronics Society, IEEE Hungary Section, Bá{a}nki Doná{a}t Polytechnic, Hungary, National Committee for Technological Development, Hungary, and in technical cooperation with the IEEE Robotics & Automation Society. It had around 100 participants from 29 countries. This special issue features papers selected from those papers presented during the conference. It should be pointed out that these papers are revised and expanded versions of those presented.The first paper discusses an intelligent control system of an automated guided vehicle used in container terminals. Container terminals, as the center of cargo transportation, play a key role in everyday cargo handling. Learning control has been applied to maintaining the vehicle’s course and enabling it to stop at a designatedlocation. Speed control uses conventional control. System performance system was evaluated by simulation, and performance tests slated for a test vehicle.The second paper presents a real-time camera-based system designed for gaze tracking focused on human-computer communication. The objective was to equip computer systems with a tool that provides visual information about the user. The system detects the user’s presence, then locates and tracks the face, nose and both eyes. Detection is enabled by combining image processing techniques and pattern recognition.The third paper discusses the application of soft computing techniques to solve modeling and control problems in system engineering. After the design of classical PID and fuzzy PID controllers for nonlinear systems with an approximately known dynamic model, the neural control of a SCARA robot is considered. Fuzzy control is discussed for a special class of MIMO nonlinear systems and the method of Wang generalized for such systems.The next paper describes fuzzy and neural network algorithms for word frequency prediction in document filtering. The two techniques presented are compared and an alternative neural network algoritm discussed.The fifth paper highlights the theory of common-sense knowledge in representation and reasoning. A connectionist model is proposed for common-sense knowledge representation and reasoning, and experimental results using this method presented.The next paper introduces an expert consulting system that employs software agents to manage distributed knowledge sources. These individual software agents solve users’ problems either by themselves or thorough mutual cooperation.The last paper presents a methodology for creating and applying a generic manufacturing process model for mechanical parts. Based on the product model and other up-to-date approaches, the proposed model involves all possible manufacturing process variants for a cluster of manufacturing tasks. The application involves a four-level model structure and Petri net representation of manufacturing process entities. Creation and evaluation of model entities and representation of the knowledge built in the shape and manufacturing process models are emphasised. The proposed process model is applied in manufacturing process planning and production scheduling.References:1) C. W. De Silva, “Automation Intelligence,” Engineering Application of Artificial Intelligence, 7-5, 471-477, (1994).2) L. A. Zadeh, “Fuzzy Logic, Neural Networks and Soft Computing,” NATO Advanced Studies Institute on Soft Computing and Its Application, Antalya, Turkey, (1996).3) L. A. Zadeh, “Berkeley Initiative_in Soft Computing,” IEEE Industrial Electronics Society Newsletter. 41-3, 8-10, (1994).

Cite this article as:
Imre J. Rudas, “Intelligent Engineering Systems,” J. Adv. Comput. Intell. Intell. Inform., Vol.2, No.3, pp. 69-71, 1998.
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