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Soft computing

Soft computing is a term applied to a field within computer science which is


characterized by the use of inexact solutions to computationally-hard tasks such as the
solution of NP-complete problems, for which an exact solution cannot be derived in
polynomial time.

Introduction
Soft Computing became a formal Computer Science area of study in the early 1990's.[1]
Earlier computational approaches could model and precisely analyze only relatively
simple systems. More complex systems arising in biology, medicine, the humanities,
management sciences, and similar fields often remained intractable to conventional
mathematical and analytical methods. That said, it should be pointed out that simplicity
and complexity of systems are relative, and many conventional mathematical models
have been both challenging and very productive. Soft computing deals with imprecision,
uncertainty, partial truth, and approximation to achieve tractability, robustness and low
solution cost. Components of soft computing include:

• Neural networks (NN)


• Fuzzy systems (FS)
• Evolutionary computation (EC), including:
o Evolutionary algorithms
o Harmony search
• Swarm intelligence
• Ideas about probability including:
o Bayesian network
• Chaos theory
• Perceptron

Generally speaking, soft computing techniques resemble biological processes more


closely than traditional techniques, which are largely based on formal logical systems,
such as sentential logic and predicate logic, or rely heavily on computer-aided numerical
analysis (as in finite element analysis). Soft computing techniques are intended to
complement each other.

Unlike hard computing schemes, which strive for exactness and full truth, soft computing
techniques exploit the given tolerance of imprecision, partial truth, and uncertainty for a
particular problem. Another common contrast comes from the observation that inductive
reasoning plays a larger role in soft computing than in hard computing.

Soft Computing is an emerging field that consists of complementary elements of fuzzy logic, neural
computing, evolutionary computation, machine learning and probabilistic reasoning. Due to their strong
learning, cognitive ability and good tolerance of uncertainty and imprecision, soft computing techniques
have found wide applications.
Generally speaking soft computing techniques resemble human reasoning more closely than traditional
techniques which are largely based on conventional logical systems, such as sentential logic and predicate
logic, or rely heavily on the mathematical capabilities of a computer.
Unlike hard computing schemes that strive for exactness and for full truth, soft computing techniques are
tolerant of imprecision, partial truth, and uncertainty