In the laboratory with… Alberto Bugarín Diz. Professor and Researcher at CiTIUS
In the laboratory with… is an area in which we introduce with five questions the talent and excellence of Campus Vida researchers on a weekly basis.
Post / Research Group: Professor
As a researcher, I have published more than 130 scientific works, which underwent a review process, in various intelligent systems modelling areas, such as automatic learning, modeling and applying knowledge-based systems with uncertainty or work flows. This research has been applied to very different areas like intelligent monitoring in medicine and industry, implementing intelligent performance in mobile robotics, recovering documental information and improving industrial production processes. These works are framed within 36 R&D+I activities (10 of them as Principal Investigator – PI), and consist in basic and applied research contracts and projects. I have participated as a PI in three contracts with firms in the processes planning domain, in the furniture industry and in projects management. Two of the works deriving from these research works received the mention of «Best work of industrial application» in the EFS2006 and HIS2008 international congresses.
1. Who is the most important scientist of the twentieth century for you? Why?
It is very hard defining who is the most important without having any more details, so I am going to stick to my research field, which is “computational intelligence”. Here my choice would doubtlessly be Lotfi A. Zadeh, a North American scientist and engineer who, in 1965, considered the basics of the Fuzzy Set Theory and Fuzzy ogic. Upon this basis, he described models so that machines reason similarly to humans, with much less importance placed on numerical detail and precision,and with more importance on generic and inaccurate information (which is almost always more than sufficient for humans). Apart from the scientific value of Professor Zadeh’s work, I believe that his capacity for having created a school in this field worldwide and having managed to hybridise two worlds, engineering and logic, is equally important (fuzzy is said to actually be a “techno-logic”).
2. Which discovery changed the world? Why?
The discovery of the transistor effect; not just for the discovery itself, but also for the subsequent invention of the corresponding electronic device and, above all, for the direct impact that it has had on information technologies as we know them today: computers of all kinds, ranging from small mobile devices to PCs, and even supercomputers; a good example of a complete cycle from the scientific discovery to a change in social uses, which is still underway, is the fact that most of the readers of this section probably have access to it via some device which would not work without transistors.
3. Why did you decide to be a researcher?
Mainly because I was encouraged to get involved in work that allows me to continue training and learning constantly, to develop new ideas and to try to put them into practice.
4. What is your most important research line? What results do you expect to obtain and what impact may they have on society?
One relevant line is the automatic construction of linguistic descriptions of complex phenomena. What we do with it is to try and describe the most relevant information concealed in data sets, like signals or databases, by means of phrases or expressions that are easy to understand by humans. Doubtlessly, a large amount of available data, and data of all kinds, needs interpreting so they are useful. Actually, the only way to deal with such a large number of data is to employ automatic artificial intelligence techniques, like those which provide computational intelligence. There is much talk about us being immersed in the Information Society, but I believe that, for the time being, we are (and will increasingly be) immersed in the Data Society. Producing useful information for people from data in machines is something that machines are not yet ready for, and this is precisely one of our working areas.
5. In what way do you think that the “Campus Vida” surroundings improve your research?
One way is that it helps make research and its results visible. In this way it is possible to achieve, on the one hand, that society knows how relevant this task is, and that it knows about the fruits it produces with the resources that it provides us with. On the other hand, it offers us the chance to set about projects with a broader scope as it encourages cooperation between researchers from the different areas and centres making up the Campus. This is the particular case of CITIUS and it is already happening at both the centre and external cooperation levels.