Azerbaijan has huge potential to become regional scientific centre: INTERVIEW with famous scientist Lotfy Zadeh
The United States, Washington, Nov. 4 / Trend , N.Bogdanova/
Famous Azerbaijani Scientist of the U.S. Berkeley University, founder of the theory of odd logic and theory of odd multitude, Lotfy Zadeh spoke with Trend in an exclusive interview.
Trend . What is your assessment of the current processes of technological development that occur in the world today?
Lotfy Zadeh. What I see is that Asian countries are advancing much more than non-Asian countries. In the United States, there is a lot of work which is done particularly in the South area. So, things are advancing, particularly in the IT sphere. Another sphere which is developing is biological sciences. These are the two areas where the progress is most visible nowadays.
Q. How do you see the future of Internet technology?
A. Internet is developing very rapidly; it is becoming more focused on mobile phones and small computers. We started with huge computers, which occupied whole rooms, then we went to laptops and now we can use internet through mobile phones. One of the most important things is search - this is Google people are doing perfectly. Search is already very important, but is going to become more important, particularly what you call question answering. Question answering systems are one of the most important directions of the information technology.
Q. Which alternative sorts of electrical energy and bio-resources in your opinion are the most perspective for the use in the world energy balance?
A. People talk about alternative sources of energy as it become very fashionable today. People talk about all different kinds of alternative energy but there are two that are perhaps more advanced than others - first is Solar and Wind is second. These are the sources which are renewable - you use them and they don't excide. It is not like oil - you use it, you extract it and that is it. Use of Hydrogen is another issue to be discussed.
But right now the most real once are the Solar and Wind. It is difficult to say which one is more important - for wind you need places with Wind, for Solar you need places with lots of sun. There all of Solar increases and right now China is doing an incredible work, but of course, Solar cannot be used in all countries. In the future I think oil and gas will continue to be very important, but not as important as now.
Q. Within BakuTEL exhibition you proposed to create the regional scientific and technical research and elaboration center in Azerbaijan. Which concrete measures can contribute to realization of this strategy?
A. I think Baku is in a good situation to become original center of science. I think that holding conferences on that topic will help to implement the project. Also, it is good to start research centers and bring people from all over the world to work there. For example research center for information technology - and open it up not just for Azerbaijanis, but for people from all over the world. I think that the establishment of such kind of a center would be very important.
Q. How do you assess the potential of Azerbaijan as the scientific center in the region?
A. Azerbaijan has a great potential for that. Which spheres of science will it be possible to develop more - it is difficult to say? Probably IT, but Azerbaijan doesn't have industry like South Korea, for example, which is one of leaders in production of cheeps. But Azerbaijan cannot do it yet. But I think there might be done something in the sphere of energy technologies - both renewable and nonrenewable.
Q. Many scientists of Azerbaijan went abroad in 1990s. Today another problem is actual: the movement of young people into business. How this situation can be changed: how to hold these people in science? Is combination of science and business (science for business and business for science) the way out of existing situation?
A. This problem doesn't have a simple solution. You see, in the Soviet Union they solved this problem by not allowing people to travel, but now in Russia and other post-soviet countries people can travel. And this creates so could brain drain. Brain drain is a big problem in Russia now - young people don't stay there, because they can go somewhere else with better conditions. It is a big problem in many other countries too. In Azerbaijan you cannot right now create high level of industrial activity at this level yet. The question is what do you do to keep them in Azerbaijan? One thing could be to create this International Research Center. If there is no place to work then scientists will leave.
Q. What has influenced on your professional choice and priorities in your scientific activities? What is the main achievement in your scientific work?
A. I had written a very important paper in 1965 and that has been my focus for quite a long time. There are many people in many countries that I have worked with very productively. And I am still continuing to work with them, so I don't feel isolated. Except that I am still active in my age. You see many people at this age are no more active, but I still come with new ideas every day.