Fuzzy logic

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Template:PortalparThis article is about the Boolean logic extension. For the album by Super Furry Animals, see Fuzzy Logic (album).

Fuzzy logic is an extension of Boolean logic dealing with the concept of partial truth. Whereas classical logic holds that everything (statements) can be expressed in binary terms (0 or 1, black or white, yes or no), fuzzy logic replaces boolean truth values with degrees of truth. These statement representations are in fact nearer of real-life human problems and statements, as truth and results are, in most of the time, partial (not binary) and/or imprecise (as in inaccurate, blurred, fuzzy).

Degrees of truth are often confused with probabilities. However, they are conceptually distinct; fuzzy truth represents membership in vaguely defined sets, not likelihood of some event or condition. To illustrate the difference, consider this scenario: Bob is in a house with two adjacent rooms: the kitchen and the dining room. In many cases, Bob's status within the set of things "in the kitchen" is completely plain: he's either "in the kitchen" or "not in the kitchen". What about when Bob stands in the doorway? He may be considered "partially in the kitchen". Quantifying this partial state yields a fuzzy set membership. With only his little toe in the dining room, we might say Bob is 0.99 "in the kitchen", for instance. No event (like a coin toss) will resolve Bob to being completely "in the kitchen" or "not in the kitchen", as long as he's standing in that doorway. Fuzzy sets are based on vague definitions of sets, not randomness.

Fuzzy logic allows for set membership values between and including 0 and 1, shades of gray as well as black and white, and in its linguistic form, imprecise concepts like "slightly", "quite" and "very". Specifically, it allows partial membership in a set. It is related to fuzzy sets and possibility theory. It was introduced in 1965 by Prof. Lotfi Zadeh at the University of California, Berkeley.

Fuzzy logic is controversial despite wide acceptance: it is rejected by some control engineers for validation and other reasons, and by some statisticians who hold that probability is the only rigorous mathematical description of uncertainty. Critics also argue that it cannot be a superset of ordinary set theory since membership functions are defined in terms of conventional sets.


Fuzzy logic can be used to control household appliances such as washing machines (which sense load size and detergent concentration and adjust their wash cycles accordingly) and refrigerators.

A basic application might characterize subranges of a continuous variable. For instance, a temperature measurement for anti-lock brakes might have several separate membership functions defining particular temperature ranges needed to control the brakes properly. Each function maps the same temperature value to a truth value in the 0 to 1 range. These truth values can then be used to determine how the brakes should be controlled.

In this image, cold, warm, and hot are functions mapping a temperature scale. A point on that scale has three "truth values" — one for each of the three functions. For the particular temperature shown, the three truth values could be interpreted as describing the temperature as, say, "fairly cold", "slightly warm", and "not hot".

A more sophisticated practical example is the use of fuzzy logic in high-performance error correction to improve information reception over a limited-bandwidth communication link affected by data-corrupting noise using turbo codes. The front-end of a decoder produces a likelihood measure for the value intended by the sender (0 or 1) for each bit in the data stream. The likelihood measures might use a scale of 256 values between extremes of "certainly 0" and "certainly 1". Two decoders may analyse the data in parallel, arriving at different likelihood results for the values intended by the sender. Each can then use as additional data the other's likelihood results, and repeats the process to improve the results until consensus is reached as to the most likely values.

Misconceptions and controversies

Fuzzy logic is the same as "imprecise logic".
Fuzzy logic is not any less precise than any other form of logic: it is an organized and mathematical method of handling inherently imprecise concepts. The concept of "coldness" cannot be expressed in an equation, because although temperature is a quantity, "coldness" is not. However, people have an idea of what "cold" is, and agree that something cannot be "cold" at N degrees but "not cold" at N+1 degrees — a concept classical logic cannot easily handle due to the principle of bivalence.
Fuzzy logic is a new way of expressing probability.
Fuzzy logic and probability refer to different kinds of uncertainty. Fuzzy logic is specifically designed to deal with imprecision of facts (fuzzy logic statements), while probability deals with chances of that happening (but still considering the result to be precise). However, this is a point of controversy. Many statisticians are persuaded by the work of Bruno de Finetti that only one kind of mathematical uncertainty is needed and thus fuzzy logic is unnecessary. On the other hand, Bart Kosko argues that probability is a subtheory of fuzzy logic, as probability only handles one kind of uncertainty. He also claims to have proved a theorem demonstrating that Bayes' theorem can be derived from the concept of fuzzy subsethood. Lotfi Zadeh, the creator of fuzzy logic, argues that fuzzy logic is different in character from probability, and is not a replacement for it. He has created a fuzzy alternative to probability, which he calls possibility theory. Other controversial approaches to uncertainty include Dempster-Shafer theory and Rough Sets.
Fuzzy logic will be difficult to scale to larger problems
In a widely circulated and highly controversial paper, Charles Elkan in 1993 commented that "...there are few, if any, published reports of expert systems in real-world use that reason about uncertainty using fuzzy logic. It appears that the limitations of fuzzy logic have not been detrimental in control applications because current fuzzy controllers are far simpler than other knowledge-based systems. In future, the technical limitations of fuzzy logic can be expected to become important in practice, and work on fuzzy controllers will also encounter several problems of scale already known for other knowledge-based systems". Reactions to Elkan's paper are many and varied, from claims that he is simply mistaken, to others who accept that he has identified important limitations of fuzzy logic that need to be addressed by system designers. In fact, fuzzy logic wasn't largely used at that time, and today it is used to solve very complex problems in AI area. Probably the scalability and complexity of the fuzzy system will depend more on its implementation than on the theory of fuzzy logic.

Examples where fuzzy logic is used

Fuzzy logic has also been incorporated into some microcontrollers and microprocessors, for instance, the Freescale 68HC12.

How fuzzy logic is applied

Fuzzy logic usually uses IF/THEN rules, or constructs that are equivalent, such as fuzzy associative matrices.

Rules are usually expressed in the form:

IF variable IS set THEN action

For example, an extremely simple temperature regulator that uses a fan might look like this:

IF temperature IS very cold THEN stop fan
IF temperature IS cold THEN turn down fan
IF temperature IS normal THEN maintain level
IF temperature IS hot THEN speed up fan

Notice there is no "ELSE". All of the rules are evaluated, because the temperature might be "cold" and "normal" at the same time to differing degrees.

The AND, OR, and NOT operators of boolean logic exist in fuzzy logic, usually defined as the minimum, maximum, and complement; when they are defined this way, they are called the Zadeh operators, because they were first defined as such in Zadeh's original papers. So for the fuzzy variables x and y:

NOT x = (1 - truth(x))
x AND y = minimum(truth(x), truth(y))
x OR y = maximum(truth(x), truth(y))

There are also other operators, more linguistic in nature, called hedges that can be applied. These are generally adverbs such as "very", or "somewhat", which modify the meaning of a set using a mathematical formula.

In application, the programming language ProLog is well geared to implementing fuzzy logic with its facilities to setup a database of "rules" which are queried to deduct logic. This sort of programming is known as logic programming.

See also


  • Earl Cox, The Fuzzy Systems Handbook (1994), ISBN 0-12-194270-8
  • Constantin von Altrock, Fuzzy Logic and NeuroFuzzy Applications Explained (2002), ISBN 0-13-368465-2
  • Frank Höppner, Frank Klawonn, Rudolf Kruse and Thomas Runkler, Fuzzy Cluster Analysis (1999), ISBN 0-471-98864-2
  • George Klir and Tina Folger, Fuzzy Sets, Uncertainty, and Information (1988), ISBN 0-13-345984-5
  • George Klir and Bo Yuan, Fuzzy Sets and Fuzzy Logic (1995) ISBN 0-13-101171-5
  • Ronald Yager and Dimitar Filev, Essentials of Fuzzy Modeling and Control (1994), ISBN 0-471-01761-2
  • Charles Elkan. The Paradoxical Success of Fuzzy Logic. November 1993. Available from Elkan's home page.

External links

Sample applications

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