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Enrique H. Ruspini – In Memoriam
On 15 October 2019, the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS) lost a great volunteer, Dr. Enrique Ruspini, who devoted a large portion of his professional life to the conception, development and growth of CIS. On the same day, our scientific community lost a great scientist, as Enrique was one of the first pioneers in fuzzy clustering and approximate reasoning, providing a similarity-based interpretation of fuzzy logic. Finally, Bernadette and Piero, and many of us, lost Enrique, a great friend, who was always ready to help on a moment notice. It is difficult to describe Enrique in a few words, and it is even more difficult to separate the volunteer from the scientist from the man. Enrique H. Ruspini received his degree of Licenciado en Ciencias Matemáticas from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his doctoral degree in System Science from the University of California at Los Angeles. He was one the earliest contributors to the development of fuzzy set theory and its applications, having introduced its use to the treatment of numerical classification and clustering problems. He also made significant contributions to the understanding of the foundations of fuzzy logic and approximate-reasoning methods. His recent research focused on the application of fuzzy logic techniques to the development of systems for intelligent control of teams of autonomous robots, information retrieval, qualitative description of complex objects and knowledge discovery and pattern matching in large databases.
Dr. Ruspini was the author of over 100 original research papers, a Life Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a First Fellow of the International Fuzzy Systems Association, a Fulbright Scholar, and a SRI Institute Fellow. He received the Meritorious Service Award of the IEEE Neural Networks Society for leading the transition of the Neural Networks Council into Society status. He was one of the founding members of the North American Fuzzy Information Processing Society and the recipient of that society’s King-Sun Fu Award. Dr. Ruspini was also the recipient of the 2009 Fuzzy Systems Pioneer Award of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and the 2018 IEEE Frank Rosenblatt Award.
Dr. Ruspini was a member of the IEEE Board of Directors (Division X Director, 2003–2004), the Past-President (President-2001) of the IEEE Neural Networks Council and its past Vice-president of Conferences. Dr. Ruspini, who has led numerous IEEE technical, educational, and organizational activities, was also a member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society and of its Awards and Constitution and Bylaws Committee, as well as its Vice-President for Finance from 2013 to 2018.
However, the description of his accomplishments as a volunteer and as a scientist fails to capture Enrique’s passion for life, his outgoing personality, and his breadth and depth of scientific and cultural knowledge. We have known Enrique since the late 70’s and we have enjoyed his friendship ever since. Needless to say, we have numerous anecdotes on Enrique’s character and personality that we would like to share with you. For the sake of brevity, we will each describe one.
Sharing with Enrique a common interest in soccer and wine, Piero can still vividly remember the day when Italy was playing against Argentina in the 1990 World Cup Semifinals. Enrique and Piero were in Paris, attending the 1990 International Conference on Information Processing and Management of Uncertainty in Knowledge-Based Systems (IPMU), which was organized by Bernadette. We decided to take a break from the conference to watch the game in Piero’s room, which had a large screen TV. We were obviously rooting for our respective teams but we also behaved with civility towards each other. After a tied game (1-1) at the end of regulation time, Argentina ended up winning 4-3, on penalty kicks - well Argentina had Maradona and Italy did not… Enrique was torn by two opposing feelings: the joy of witnessing the victory of his team and the sorrow of watching Piero sad and distressed (yes, soccer could be an emotionally moving sport). He called room service and ordered a bottle of Chardonnay, which they consumed together, discussing some of the salient points of the soccer game and of course both complaining about the referee… It was typical vintage Enrique.
Bernadette still remembers his energy and dynamism when participating in the first meetings gathering the emerging fuzzy community. The most surprising for her was probably to see him in Acapulco, where they were participating in the International Congress on Applied Systems Research and Cybernetics in December 1980. After the sessions, a small group went to the beach and Enrique disappeared at some point, to suddenly appear again, but in the sky, doing some sort of parasailing. They could not believe what they saw!
He was a strong supporter of brand new fuzzy conferences. Bernadette cannot forget that he actively participated in the first issue of the IPMU conference in Paris and he continued to attend it regularly during many years. He was also a plenary lecturer at the first edition of the French annual fuzzy conference, Rencontres Francophones sur la Logique Floue et ses Applications, held in Paris in 1995, which he attended in spite of a general strike in France that eliminated all means of transportation.
Enrique loved computers, travel, astronomy, photography, history, music, opera, and sports. He loved science and people. He was the corporate memory for IEEE CIS, he was a mentor and a friend. We will miss him.
Piero P. Bonissone
San Diego, CA, USA
2019 IEEE CIS Neural Networks Pioneer Award to: Yoshua Bengio
2019 IEEE CIS Fuzzy Systems Pioneer Award to: Hisao Ishibuchi
2019 IEEE CIS Evolutionary Computation Pioneer Award to: Zbigniew Michalewicz
2019 IEEE CIS Meritorious Service Award to: Pablo Estevez
2019 CIS Outstanding Early Career Award to: Erik Cambria
2019 IEEE CIS Outstanding Chapter Award to: IEEE CIS San Diego Chapter
2019 CIS Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation award to: Ran Cheng
2019 IEEE TNNLS Outstanding Paper Award to:
Tong Wang, Huijun Gao, and Jianbin Qiu, for the paper entitled "A Combined Adaptive Neural Network and Nonlinear Model Predictive Control for Multirate Networked Industrial Process Control,” IEEE Transactions on Neural Networks and Learning Systems, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 416-425, February 2016.
2019 IEEE TFS Outstanding Paper Award to:
Mahardhika Pratama, Jie Lu, and Guangquan Zhang for the paper entitled “Evolving Type-2 Fuzzy Classifier”, IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 574-589, 2016.
2019 IEEE TEVC Outstanding Paper Award to:
Abhishek Gupta, Yew Soon Ong and Liang Feng for the paper entitled “Multifactorial Evolution: Toward Evolutionary Multitasking”, IEEE Transactions on Evolutionary Computation, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 343-357, 2016.
2019 IEEE TCDS Outstanding Paper Award to:
Hande Celikkanat, Guner Orhan, Nicolas Pugeault, Frank Guerin, and Erol Şahin, for the paper entitled Learning Context on a Humanoid Robot Using Incremental Latent Dirichlet Allocation, IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems (IEEE TCDS), vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 42-59, 2016.
2019 IEEE CIM Outstanding Paper Award to:
Jun Hu, Huajin Tang, Kay Chen Tan and Haizhou Li, for the paper entitled "How the Brain Formulates Memory: A Spatio-Temporal Model," IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 56-68, May 2016.