Fuzzy Sets Bring Ideas Into Focus

by Felix Wong, Sr. Assoc.; Weidlinger Assoc., 620 Hansen Way, Suite 200, Palo Alto, CA 94304,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1986, Vol. 56, Issue 9, Pg. 78-79

Document Type: Feature article


Fuzzy set theory was born out of a dissatisfaction with classical crisp sets and binary logic. Conventional computers, despite 30 years of evolution, are still rigidly precise, number crunching machines. Consequently, sharp numerical values must be used to define a group, concept or model if it is to be processed by computer. Engineers are compelled to de-emphasize much of the judgemental data in their work because evaluation of such terms as severely damaged or probably unsafe cannot be accommodated by traditional computer programs. Fuzzy logic allows for overlap and grey areas by catagorizing data along a continuum. Uncertainties may one day be dealt with using a unified theory that combines probabilistic and fuzzy set methods.

Subject Headings: Fuzzy sets | Computer models | Equipment and machinery | Numerical methods | Numerical models | Computer software | Uncertainty principles | Probability

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