A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
December 8, 2005 Volume 36 / Number 4


Fuzzy Logic Explained … and More, from New Faculty

It’s not as complicated as it sounds

Adel Ghandakly is the new chair of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has had a distinguished career as a professor, researcher, administrator, consultant, and industry engineer. He has taught at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada; the University of New Orleans; and, most recently, the University of Toledo (UT). At UT, he was chair of the electrical engineering and computer science department, which included 25 faculty, more than 700 students, two master of science programs, and a doctoral program. Ghandakly earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, systems and control, at the University of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt. He received his postgraduate degrees at the University of Calgary.

How many students are in the electrical and computer engineering program? We have more than 200 undergraduate students and about 30 graduate students in our program who are preparing for computer and information technology-based electrical and computer engineering careers.

What are your research interests? Intelligent and adaptive control, as well as energy systems.

Could you explain “fuzzy logic” to us? Hard logic (which is simply logic) uses data (observations) to infer true-or-false (black-or-white, zero-or-one) type conclusions. Fuzzy logic uses data to infer conclusions that are intermediate—between “absolute true” and “absolute false.” Fuzzy logic also provides a measurable scalar degree of belonging to (or leaning toward) either of the two absolutes. For example, by observing a room with a light source, (hard) logic would be able to render a verdict of dark or light, whereas fuzzy logic would be able to render a verdict of “80 percent membership to dark,” which may, in our daily terminology, mean “rather” or “quite” dark.

The politics of animal rights

Mahalley Allen is an assistant professor of political science. She received an MA and a PhD in political science from the University of Kansas. She earned a law degree from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and undergraduate degrees in political science and English from Southeast Missouri State University. Allen grew up in southwest Missouri.

What are your teaching and research interests? My interests are in the fields of public law and public policy, especially environmental policy. Some of my current research explores the political tactics and strategies of the animal rights movement in the United States and its policy impacts. I have also conducted research examining bias in the media’s coverage of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, as well as research on the conditions under which the national government can influence state policy adoption.

Your dissertation was on the politics of the animal rights movement. Are you involved with animal rights? My initial interest came from a personal interest in the welfare of animals. I found that despite the animal rights movement’s status as a significant contemporary social movement, little scholarly attention had been paid to the movement and there had been no systematic examination of its politics.

What is “ecological politics”? The study of ecological politics involves an investigation and analysis of the political nature of the environmental crisis in the United States, and the development of legal and administrative systems for handling environmental problems.

Exploring the world of foragers and ruminants

Celina Johnson is an assistant professor of animal science, College of Agriculture. She earned an undergraduate degree in animal science from CSU, Chico; a master’s degree at University of Florida; and a PhD in animal nutrition at Oklahoma State University. Johnson previously taught at Colorado State University. She is faculty advisor to the Chico State Stock Dog Association.

What is animal science? Animal science is the study of how animals function (at the basic science level) and how they can be managed for efficient, sustainable production.

What are some of your areas of expertise? I specialize in livestock nutrition—helping producers lower their costs of production through improving their feeding programs. I particularly work with foragers and ruminants like cattle and sheep.

What types of careers do students go into with animal science degrees? Many go on to graduate school and pursue an MS or PhD. Other careers are in the pharmaceutical and feeding industries, veterinary medicine, and management of ranches, farms, and other animal science-related businesses.

How did you become interested in animal science? I am originally from a farming and ranching background in Nevada. Many students become interested in animal science through a lifestyle (growing up on a farm or ranch) or by participating in youth activities like 4-H and FFA.

What attracted you to CSU, Chico? As an undergrad, I was drawn to CSU, Chico by the emphasis on experiential learning and the very applied focus of the College of Agriculture. Throughout my graduate education, I had the chance to work at several other institutions, and I came to appreciate the education I received at CSU, Chico even more.

—Lisa Kirk