Get Adobe Flash player

Lotfi A. Zadeh

Lotfi Zadeh photograph

Lotfi Zadeh (whose real name is Lutfeli Rehim oghlu Esgerzade) is an Azerbaijani scholar, the father of the theory of fuzzy logic in the field of artificial intelligence, and a professor at University of California, Berkeley. He is the only person given life tenure at the university. He is an honorary member of the Azerbaijani diaspora in America.

On February 4, 1921, Lotfi Zadeh was born in Baku to Rehim Elesgerzade and Fanya Kkorimon Alasgerzade, a Jewish-origin Russian pediatrician. When he was ten years old, he and his family moved to Tehran, where he continued his education in a school run by American missionaries. After completing high school, he was admitted into the Tehran University School of Electrical Engineering. After great success at Tehran University, he went to the United States in 1944 and continued his education at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated from MIT with a master’s in electrical engineering in 1946 and became a professor in 1957. At the same time, upon the advice of well-known scientist Norbert Wiener, the father of cybernetics, he moved to California to work at UC Berkeley. After a difficult period of adjustment, he finally adapted to the conditions there, and stayed to this day at UC Berkeley.

Today six of Lotfi Zadeh’s significant theories are globally recognized in science. He formulated theories such as fuzzy sets, fuzzy logic, and fuzzy algorithms. He is one of two specialists who developed the z-transform method in discrete time signal processing and analysis. These theories are used widely in science and manufacturing. His fuzzy logic theory brought him world-wide fame, and for it he is considered a revolutionary in world science. This theory brought a new expression to the mathematical foundational concept of sets:  the idea of fuzzy sets. The addition of fuzzy sets to science provided a more adequate explanation for natural and social processes. Lotfi Zadeh earned the highest award for science in Japan, the Honda Award, in 1989 for success of his fuzzy logic theory in industry.

Lotfi Zadeh is a member of the Academies of many foreign countries. He has received many awards and medals from respected societies and foundations. He is an honorary doctor of dozens of foreign countries and public organizations. He is one of the most highly-cited scientists in the world. His works were cited more than 36,000 times just in the years 1999-2000.

He founded the Zadeh Institute for Information Technologies at UC Berkeley.


Congress Award, International Congress on Applied Systems Research and Cybernetics, Acapulco, 1980

Outstanding Paper Award, International Symposium on Multiple-Valued Logic, Winnipeg, 1984

Premier Best Paper Award, 2nd Int’l Conference on Fuzzy Theory and Technology, Duke University, Durham, NC, 1993

J.P. Wohl Career Acheivement Award of the IEEE Systems, Science and Cybernetics Society, 1997

Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award, American Council on Automatic Control, 1998

Information Science Award, Association for Intelligent Machinery, 1998. Scientific Contribution Memorial Award, Japanese

Society of Fuzzy Theory (SOFT), 1999

Writings about him:

Lotfi A. Zadeh

“Dünya dahilərsiz yaşaya bilmir” (The World Can’t Live Without Geniuses) book by Möbəddin Səməd

Film about him: