It is with great delight that I write the preface for this, the very first volume in Elsevier's new book series "Capturing Intelligence".
This series aims at publishing books on research from all disciplines dealing with and affecting the issue of understanding and reproducing intelligent artificial systems. The series will cast its net wide, aiming for contributions from diverse areas such as symbolic AI, biological approaches, self-organisation and emergence, and physically embodied systems. Symbolic knowledge representation has a long tradition in the quest to understand the notion of "intelligence", and it is fitting that the first book in our series is rooted in this tradition.
However, the current volume is not simply a treatise on classical topics. Instead, it confronts a classical, rich and well-established area, namely the representation of fuzzy, non-crisp concepts, with a new and highly exciting challenge, namely the vision of the Semantic Web.
The vision of a more Semantic Web has been attracting much attention by scientists and industrialists alike since early publications on the topic, notably Tim Berners-Lee's book "Weaving the Web" and his Scientific American publication jointly with Jim Hendler and Ora Lasilla in 200 1. Higher precision of search engines, searching with semantic instead of syntactic queries, information integration among different web-resources, personalisation, and semantic web services, are all part of the promises of this vision.
The insight that any realistic approach to the Semantic Web will have to take into account the lessons from fuzzy logic approaches is gaining ground in a wide community, and slowly but surely, the Semantic Web community is waking up to this fact.
For this reason, the current volume is extremely timely. The different papers in this book propose a number of ways in which current Semantic Web technology can be "fuzzified", and they discuss a number of ways in which such fuzzy representations can be used for tasks such as search and information retrieval.
I am convinced that this book is a very good and timely start of this new book series, and I am looking forward to future volumes in this series, of equally high quality and relevance.