The adjective intelligent (or smart) is frequently applied to many common systems.
A system is a small part of the universe that we are interested in. It may be natural like the weather or man-made like an automobile; it may be an object like a machine or abstract like a system for electing political leaders. The surroundings are everything else that interacts with the system. The system may sometimes be further subdivided into subsystems that also interact with each other. This division into subsystems is not necessarily unique. In this study, we are mostly interested in mechanical devices that we design for some specific purpose. This by itself helps us define what the system to be considered is.
Though it is hard to quantify the intelligence of a system, one can certainly recognize the following two extremes to some of the characteristics that it may possess:
(a) Low intelligence:
Typically a simple system, it has to be told” everything and needs complete instructions, needs low-level control, the parameters are set, it is usually mechanical.
(b) High intelligence:
Typically a complex system, it is autonomous to a certain extent and needs few instructions, determines for itself what the goals are, demands high-level control, adaptive, makes decisions and choices, it is usually computerized.
There is thus a continuum between these two extremes and most practical devices fall within this category. Because of this broad definition, all control systems are intelligent to a certain extent and in this respect they are similar. However, the more intelligent systems can handle more complex situations and make more complex decisions. As computer hardware and software improve, it becomes possible to engineer more intelligent systems under this definition. We will be using a collection of techniques known as soft computing. These are inspired by biology and work well on nonlinear, complex problems.
Applications of Intelligent systems
The three areas in which intelligent systems impact the discipline are control, design, and data analysis. Some of the specific areas in which intelligent systems have been applied are the following: instrument landing system, automatic pilot, collision-avoidance system, anti-lock brake, smart airbag, intelligent road vehicles, planetary rovers, medical diagnoses, image processing, intelligent data analysis, financial risk analysis, temperature and flow control, process control, intelligent CAD, smart materials, smart manufacturing, intelligent buildings, internet search engines, machine translators, etc.
Related disciplines of Intelligent systems
Areas of study that are closely related to the subject of these notes are systems theory, control
theory, computer science and engineering, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science.
What is Intelligence?
There are many definitions of intelligence. A person who learns fast or has a vast amount of experience could be called “intelligent”. However, the most useful definition for our purposes is the systems’ comparative level of performance in reaching its objectives. This implies having experiences where the system learned which actions best let it reach its objectives.
By the way, persons are not intelligent in all areas of knowledge, they are only intelligent in those areas where they had experienced.
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