What is Noise?
What is Signal?

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

Noise has many forms – white, pink, brown and thermal noise, to name a few. Chaos is noise.
And life might not have evolved without it.
Dr. Bart

University of
Southern California

Bart Kosko is a professor of electrical engineering at USC. He holds degrees in philosophy, economics, mathematics, electrical engineering, and law—and is a licensed California attorney. Dr. Kosko is the author of Noise, Fuzzy Thinking, Heaven in a Chip, the novel Nanotime, and several textbooks and edited volumes dealing with fuzzy logic, neural networks, and intelligent signal processing.

Professor Kosko is a regular guest on radio and TV and his writings have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Scientific American, and many other popular venues. He is an award-winning composer and resides in Los Angeles.

A celebrated maverick in the world of science, Bart Kosko introduced—and continues to popularize in print and television media—the revolutionary concept of fuzzy logic. In his latest book, he provides the first scientific history of noise aimed at the general reader.

Noise is a social nuisance, a cause of deafness and high blood pressure, and an all-around annoyance. But what is noise really? As Kosko simply states, “Noise is a signal that you don’t like.” It occurs at every level of the physical universe, from the big bang to blaring car alarms. Today, noise is considered the curse of the information age, but, in fact, not all noise is bad. Debunking this and many other commonly held beliefs about noise, Kosko gives us a vivid sense of how deeply noise permeates both the world around us and within us. Along the way he covers many compelling topics, from noise’s possible role in the ice ages to noise pollution laws, the use of noise to generate synthetic speech.