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Engineering professor honored for pioneering computer research

CoE Professor Jim Keller has won a prestigious international peer award for his groundbreaking work in developing more intelligent computers.

Keller, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science, has been selected to receive the 2007 Fuzzy Systems Pioneer Award sponsored by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Computational Intelligence Society. Keller will receive the honor at an IEEE conference scheduled for July 23—26 in London, England.

“It’s very nice to be recognized as someone who has contributed,” Keller said.

Keller also was recently named a University of Missouri curators’ professor—the university’s highest academic designation—for his computational intelligence research.

Both honors recognize Keller’s success at using the “fuzzy logic” mathematical framework to develop technology allowing computers to incorporate incomplete or uncertain information into their decision–making programs, such as those that interpret visual images. By including such subtleties, Keller’s work paved the way for computers that better mimic human thought.

Now Keller hopes to use the fuzzy logic framework to break new ground in addressing the national issue of caring for the growing number of America’s elderly who want to continue living independently. Fuzzy logic’s flexibility presents novel opportunities to monitor seniors for health changes in ways that protect their privacy, Keller said.

“It’s going to allow us to see and react to important changes in people over time,” he said.

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