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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

Fuzzy Reasoning as a Control Problem


Kai-Yuan Cai and Lei Zhang

AbstractDifferent from the dominant view of treating fuzzy


reasoning as generalization of classical logical inference, in this
paper fuzzy reasoning is treated as a control problem. A new fuzzy
reasoning method is proposed that employs an explicit feedback
mechanism to improve the robustness of fuzzy reasoning. The
fuzzy rule base given a priori serves as a controlled object, and the
fuzzy reasoning method serves as the corresponding controller.
The fuzzy rule base and the fuzzy reasoning method constitute a
control system that may be open loop or closed loop, depending on
the underlying reasoning goals/constraints. The fuzzy rule base,
the fuzzy reasoning method, and the corresponding reasoning
goals/constraints dene the three distinct ingredients of fuzzy
reasoning. While various existing fuzzy reasoning methods are
essentially a static mapping from the universe of single fuzzy
premises to the universe of single fuzzy consequences, the new
fuzzy reasoning method maps sequences of fuzzy premises to sequences of fuzzy consequences and is a function of the underlying
reasoning goals/constraints. The Monte Carlo simulation shows
that the new fuzzy reasoning method is much more robust than
the optimal fuzzy reasoning method proposed in our previous
work. The explicit feedback mechanism embedded in the fuzzy
reasoning method does signicantly improve the robustness of
fuzzy reasoning, which is concerned with the effects of perturbations associated with given fuzzy rule bases and/or fuzzy premises
on fuzzy consequences. The work presented in this paper sets a
new starting point for various principles of feedback control and
optimization to be applied in fuzzy reasoning or logical inference
and to explore new forms of reasoning including robust reasoning
and adaptive reasoning. It can be also expected that the new
fuzzy reasoning method presented in this paper can be used for
modeling and control of complex systems and for decision-making
under complex environments.
Index TermsFeedback control, fuzzy reasoning, optimal fuzzy
reasoning, robustness, triple ingredients perspective.

I. INTRODUCTION
XISTING research on fuzzy reasoning can roughly be
divided into three overlapping categories: fuzzy reasoning
methods and their analysis, logical foundation of fuzzy reasoning, and applications of fuzzy reasoning. Various fuzzy
methods have been proposed and are mainly based on three
different ideas. The rst idea is that of composition. This leads
to the Zadeh compositional rule of inference (CRI) method
[1] and its variants [2][4]. The second idea is that of analogy
and similarity [5][8]. The third idea is that of interpolation
[9], [10]. Analysis of fuzzy reasoning methods is concerned

Manuscript received April 10, 2006; revised September 6, 2006; November


26, 2006. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation of
China under Grant 60474006 and by the 863 Programme of China under Grant
2006AA01Z174.
The authors are with the Department of Automatic Control, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Beijing 100083, China (e-mail:
kycai@buaa.edu.cn; zhanglei@buaa.edu.cn).
Digital Object Identier 10.1109/TFUZZ.2007.896275

with various properties of interest such as interpretability of


fuzzy rules [11], consistency of new fuzzy consequences with
existing fuzzy premises, and continuity of fuzzy consequences
with respect to fuzzy premises and fuzzy relations [12]. Since
numerous different implication operators and connectives can
be adopted in fuzzy reasoning methods, an important class of
analysis of fuzzy reasoning methods is concerned with suitability of fuzzy reasoning or which fuzzy reasoning methods
are suitable for domain specic applications [13][15].
The logical foundation of fuzzy reasoning is concerned with
formal systems in which various fuzzy reasoning methods can
be interpreted. Several formal systems of this kind have been
proposed, including basic logic [16], monoidal t-norm based
logic [17], the quasi-formal deductive system of Wang [18], and
possibilistic logic [19]. These formal systems are mainly generalizations of classical propositional logic and multivalued logic.
On the other hand, applications of fuzzy reasoning methods are
extensive and can be found in disparate areas such as complex
systems modeling and control [20], pattern recognition [21], decision making [22], and safety guarding [23], among others [24],
[25].
No matter what ideas are adopted to determine fuzzy reasoning methods, what formal systems are developed for fuzzy
reasoning methods, or which areas fuzzy reasoning methods are
applied to, the basic philosophy of fuzzy reasoning is to mimic
the process of human reasoning and to transform human expertise into quantitative terms. Ideally, there should be one-to-one
correspondence between human expertise and quantitative
terms. In this way, fuzzy reasoning in mathematically quantitative terms will exactly represent or capture the essence of
human fuzzy reasoning. Unfortunately, the one-to-one correspondence can seldom be observed. For example, the fuzzy
observation about 5 in real-world sense can be represented
in terms of a triangular fuzzy number or of a Gaussian fuzzy
number in a mathematically quantitative formalism, but we
are really not sure which is better to capture the essence of
about 5. Then a question arises: is the difference between the
two fuzzy numbers in mathematically quantitative formalism
important for fuzzy reasoning? Or, is a mathematical fuzzy
reasoning scheme robust or perturbation-resistant against the
deviation of human expertise from its corresponding mathematically quantitative representations [26]? This denes a
robustness issue of fuzzy reasoning.
Note that a fuzzy reasoning method actually denes a mapping from fuzzy premises to fuzzy consequences. The deviation of human expertise from its corresponding mathematically
quantitative representations may lead to errors in fuzzy premises
as well as in the mapping from fuzzy premises to fuzzy consequences. Therefore the robustness issue of fuzzy reasoning
needs to discuss how errors in fuzzy premises and/or the mapping from fuzzy premises to fuzzy consequences affect fuzzy

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CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

consequences in fuzzy reasoning. The importance of the robustness issue can further be justied from other perspectives. In
fuzzy modeling of complex systems, ne representations often
lead to a vast number of fuzzy rules. In order to circumvent
the curse of dimensionality, fuzzy rule base reduction is invoked, which incurs undesirable errors in the mapping from
fuzzy premises to fuzzy consequences [27]. In fuzzy control
with fuzzy inputs, noises are often associated with the fuzzy inputs, and it is highly desirable that the noises can be attenuated
[28].
The robustness issue of fuzzy reasoning was studied in our
previous work [26], [29] in the setting of -equalities of fuzzy
sets1 and extended in the recent work reported in [30]. An important observation is that the popular Zadeh CRI method is
not sufciently robust and should be improved. In contrast, the
optimal fuzzy reasoning methods [31], [32], which treat fuzzy
reasoning as a process of optimization rather than logical inference, can be more robust. It is further shown that optimal fuzzy
reasoning methods can improve the robustness of fuzzy control
systems [33].
Inspired by the general idea in control engineering that feedback can help to attenuate the uncertainty of controlled objects
and the observation noises [34], in this paper we treat fuzzy reasoning as a control problem and embed an explicit feedback
mechanism into an optimal fuzzy reasoning method proposed
in our previous work [31], [32]. The resulting new fuzzy reasoning method is expected to be more robust than the optimal
fuzzy reasoning method, and thus to be much more robust than
the CRI methods and the like. Section II reviews the optimal
fuzzy reasoning method that serves as a reference method in this
paper. Section III introduces three distinct measures to capture
the robustness of the optimal fuzzy reasoning. Section IV formulates the new fuzzy reasoning method proposed in this paper.
Section V presents the results of Monte Carlo simulation to evaluate the robustness of the new fuzzy reasoning method in comparison with the optimal fuzzy reasoning. Section VI discusses
fuzzy reasoning in a general context of feedback control and
proposes the triple ingredients perspective for fuzzy reasoning
and logical inference that may lead to new forms of reasoning
such as robust reasoning and adaptive reasoning. Concluding remarks are contained in Section VII.
II. OPTIMAL FUZZY REASONING
Consider a set of fuzzy rules as follows:
If
If

is

then
then

is
is

If

is

then

is

where
is a fuzzy set dened on the universe of discourse
and
is a fuzzy set dened on the universe of discourse
. The problem of fuzzy modus ponens is concerned
with what is if is a fuzzy set dened on .
Let
and
be the membership functions
of
and , respectively. Suppose is with membership function
. The basic idea of the Zadeh CRI method
is a composition of the given fuzzy rules and
is that
1Two

fuzzy sets are said to be  -equal if they are equal to an extent of  .


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601

the given fuzzy premise [1]. In doing so, all the fuzzy rules
are composed into a new fuzzy rule rst, which is then used
to generate a fuzzy consequence in accordance with the given
fuzzy premise. This is the so-called composition-based inference [20]. Alternatively, each of the fuzzy rules is individually used to generate a fuzzy consequence in accordance with
the given fuzzy premise. The resulting fuzzy consequences
are then composed into a new fuzzy consequence. This is the
so-called individual-rule based inference [20]. In this paper, we
follow composition-based inference.
More specically, consider the case of nite discrete uniand
.
verses with
Further, let

where
adopted in the fuzzy relation
is the Mamdani
to the fuzzy
implication operator from the fuzzy premise
composes the fuzzy rules into a single
consequence
fuzzy rule via the union operator, and
determines
the fuzzy consequence corresponding to the fuzzy premise
according to the Zadeh CRI method for fuzzy modus ponens.
It is implicitly assumed that the fuzzy relation incorporates
all the information underlying the fuzzy rules. With this assumption, the problem of fuzzy modus ponens can be restated
as follows: given fuzzy relation and fuzzy premise , what is
the corresponding fuzzy consequence ? The CRI method denes a single fuzzy consequence for each fuzzy premise and is a
generalized version of modus ponens in classical logical inference. The desired properties or goals of the CRI method are not
explicitly stated or used to derive the method.
In contrast, the optimal fuzzy reasoning methods proposed in
our previous work follow a dramatically different idea for fuzzy
modus ponens that can be stated as follows [31][33].
is gained from the
1) Suppose a fuzzy relation (matrix)
experience of experts (fuzzy rules) or data. Then we should
trust and treat it as a basis for evaluating the quality of a
fuzzy reasoning method.
2) If a fuzzy premise
is given, then a fuzzy reasoning
method will generate the corresponding consequence .
A fuzzy reasoning method is optimal if the matrix
is
in some sense, where
,
the closest to
denoting that implies .
A fundamental feature of optimal fuzzy reasoning is that an optimization goal is introduced, which species what is meant by
being the closest to . The process of optimal fuzzy reasoning is goal driven towards optimizing the objective function
given a priori. The resulting fuzzy reasoning process is no longer
dened a priori. Rather, it depends on the underlying goal for
reasoning and is derived. Different goals lead to different fuzzy

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

reasoning methods. Given a set of fuzzy rules, an identical fuzzy


premise implies different fuzzy consequences for different reasoning goals. This makes optimal fuzzy reasoning dramatically
different from existing methods of fuzzy reasoning as well as
various rules of inference in classical logics. In view of optimal
fuzzy reasoning, more often than not, it is not appropriate to
state If Then for a fuzzy rule. Instead, the fuzzy rule
should be restated as If Then For goal . Suppose a fuzzy
rule is given as If Then in a knowledge base; it can be
reinterpreted as If Then For an arbitrary goal . There
does not seem to exist a counterpart to optimal fuzzy reasoning
in classical logical inference.
Suppose the new fuzzy premise is given as
with
, which implies a new fuzzy consequence dewith
. A specic reasoning
noted as
goal in optimal fuzzy reasoning is to optimize the following objective function [31], [32]:

that minimizes

2) Obtain
Let

Suppose
reduces to

with

The value of

that minimizes

as follows.

. Then

is

if
if
if

(2.1)
For
This objective function measures the absolute distance between
the given fuzzy relation
and the new fuzzy
relation
. Other objective functions
were also adopted in our previous work [31][33]. The resulting fuzzy reasoning processes are optimal in the sense that
the given objective functions are optimized or minimized. The
corresponding to the fuzzy
fuzzy consequence
premise
is determined by minimizing the given
. This is dramatically different from the
objective function
is
CRI method. Note that in the CRI method,
determined by composing the fuzzy relation and the fuzzy
without considering any optimization
premise
or extra function. It is basically a kind of generalizations of
the classical logical modus ponens. No objective function or
reasoning goal is explicitly involved.
, the fuzzy
With the fuzzy relation
, and the objective function
premise
to be mini2
can be
mized, the resulting fuzzy consequence
determined as follows [31], [32]. Note that

where
We can easily see that if the extra objective function achieves
its minimum at
achieves its minimum
. Denote the corresponding values as
at
and
, respectively. In this way,
can be obtained in the
following procedure.
into
such that
1) Rearrange
. Rearrange the row ordering of
into
according to the
change of the row ordering of .
2 [b

; b ; . . . ; b ], rather than [b ; b ; . . . ; b ], is used here for the notational

convenience.
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or

reduces to

which is irrelevant of . That is, can take any value in


to minimize
. Specically, let
.
1 candidate values
are obOverall,
tained for . Let

In this way
and
3)
.
Symbolically, we can denote
, where denotes
a fuzzy reasoning method such as the one presented in this secthe corresponding fuzzy relation,
the given fuzzy
tion,
premise, and the resulting fuzzy consequence.
A few remarks should be made for the above algorithm. For
any pair of and , the above algorithm guarantees that there
is a consequence . In the case of
in Step 2) of the
above algorithm, we specically let
to avoid multiple choice of consequence. The choice of
asserts
that the maximal grade of membership of the resulting fuzzy
consequence should not be greater than that of the given fuzzy
premise. Intuitively, the maximal condence in the fuzzy consequence should not exceed that in the given fuzzy premise. How, then there must be
and
.
ever, if
The choice of
in Step 2) becomes superuous accordingly.
Now let us consider a simple example to illustrate the difference between the CRI method and the optimal fuzzy reasoning (OFR) method presented in this section. Suppose we obTHEN
; IF
THEN
tain two (crisp) rules: IF

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

TABLE I

1 0
THE REASONING RESULTS FOR R =
0 1

AND

A = (x 1) WITH TWO

DIFFERENT METHODS

. Then we obtain

. Since no fuzziness is in-

volved in these two rules, it is intuitively reasonable to expect


that they are good at handling crisp premises and stand at a neutral position towards handling fuzzy premises. In other words,
if the given premises are slightly fuzzy, then the resulting consequences should be slightly fuzzy too. On the other hand, if
the given premises are highly fuzzy, then the resulting consequences should not have preference to any particular points in
the corresponding universe of discourse. This intuition can be
demonstrated as follows.
. Table I tabulates the reasoning results
Suppose
for the CRI and OFR methods. The CRI method does not invoke an optimization goal and thus generates a uniform result
of
irrespective of the value of . The CRI method
is always sensitive to any change in . For the OFR method,
implies that the given premise
is close
to a crisp one and thus it is reasonable to have a slightly fuzzy
consequence
. The OFM method is sensitive to any
change in and thus is good at handling slightly fuzzy premises.
For
, the given premise
is
modestly fuzzy. The resulting consequences should be modestly
fuzzy too. Further, the fuzzy consequence should be insensitive
looks reasonto minor changes in . In this way
able. For
, the given premise is highly fuzzy and
the grades of membership at the different points of the universe
of the discourse of are close to each other. The OFR method
is totally incapable of handing them and thus always generate
an invariant consequence
, which is most fuzzy.
Therefore, the OFR method should be more intuitively attractive and reasonable than the CRI method.
An undesirable phenomenon associated with this example
is that the value of the second entry of
changes from 1 at
to 0.5 for
. A minor increment in leads
to a drop in the grade of membership at a particular point of the
universe of discourse for the fuzzy consequence. This implies
that the optimal fuzzy reasoning method should be improved in
the future. The underlying cause for this phenomenon is the objective function adopted in (2.1). While the objective function
helps the optimal fuzzy reasoning method to achieve the desirable robustness (in terms of the robustness measures presented
in Section III), the optimal fuzzy reasoning method is not sufciently robust for the particular fuzzy premise with
.
If the robustness measures presented in Section III are treated
as global (in the sense that they are not stuck to any particular
fuzzy premises), then roughly speaking, the global robustness is
achieved at expense of local robustness (with respect to a particular fuzzy premise). Fortunately, the local robustness is somewhat compromised only for the particular fuzzy premise with
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603

and is not impaired for other fuzzy premises. For


the very example given above, the grade of membership at the
rst point of universe of discourse for the fuzzy consequence
keeps invariant (at 0.5) as
is changed to
.
The undesirable phenomenon may be alleviated to some extent
by adopting alternative objection functions in (2.1), which set
constraints for local robustness for particular fuzzy premises of
concern. What alternative objective functions should be adopted
denes a research topic for future investigation. However, even
in the presence of the undesirable phenomenon, the simulation
results presented in Section V show that the new fuzzy reasoning method that adopts an explicit feedback mechanism still
achieves satisfactory robustness behavior.
The above formulation is stuck at the single-input and singleoutput case. The generalization to the multiple-input and singleoutput case or the multiple-input and multiple-output case is
straightforward. For example, consider the following rule.
is
is
, and
is
, then is .
If
can be dened on the universe
Then a fuzzy matrix
, where
is the universe of discourse for fuzzy
sets
. Further, a multiple-input and multiple-output fuzzy rule can be treated as a set of multiple-input
and single-output fuzzy rules. On the other hand, if the underlying
universes are continuous, then they can be discretized as appropriate.Herewenotethatmultiple-inputandmultiple-outputfuzzy
rules dened on continuous universes of discourse are widely employed in fuzzy modeling and control [20].
III. ROBUSTNESS MEASURES
An advantage of optimal fuzzy reasoning methods over the
CRI method or other existing methods of fuzzy reasoning is that
optimal fuzzy reasoning methods are more easily understood.
Each optimal fuzzy reasoning method is determined by a reasoning goal specied by a given objective function. However,
existing methods of fuzzy reasoning are often treated as generalizations of classical logical inference. The corresponding logic
foundation is still obscure and the generalizations from logical
inference to fuzzy reasoning look arbitrary in some sense. Another advantage of optimal fuzzy reasoning methods is that they
may be more robust than the CRI method. Given a fuzzy relation (determined by the given set of fuzzy rules) and a fuzzy
premise , a robustness measure (RM) quanties how errors
associated with and/or lead to errors in the corresponding
fuzzy consequences. RM should be a function of and . However, it is also a function of the underlying reasoning method.
Symbolically, we denote RM
, where denotes
the underlying method adopted for fuzzy reasoning. Let
be
the error of , and
the corresponding
the error of
error of . There are at least three different categories of robustness measures that we can adopt.
A. Robustness Measure I
The rst category of robustness measures considers
and ignores
. Symbolically, we denote

only

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

denotes certain norm operator which is not dened


where
is said to
in a mathematically rigorous term here. Method
and
than method
if
be more robust with respect to
.
, it may not be easy
Given a robustness measure
to evaluate the robustness of the fuzzy reasoning method in
an analytical manner. However, the Monte Carlo simulation can
help as demonstrated in our previous work [32]. The following
algorithm shows how a robustness measure of interest can be
calculated.
Simulation Algorithm 1:
Step 1) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise with fuzzy relation
in accordance with the optimal fuzzy reasoning
method presented in Section II.
Step 2) Generate 50 sets of random numbers
,
taking values in the interval ( 1/40,
with
1/40) in accordance with a uniform probability
distribution.
Step 3) Let
if
if
if
Step 4) Let
.
Step 5) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
with
in accordance with the optimal
fuzzy relation
fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II,
.
Step 6) Calculate

where
denotes the optimal fuzzy reasoning
method presented in Section II and

Step 7) Stop.
. However,
Here we note that it is assumed that
this is not essential. Other values can be assigned to and .
The simulation is actually conducted for 50 trials, each of which
generates a value for measuring robustness of fuzzy reasoning.
Step 6) calculates the average of these values and treats it as the
index of robustness of fuzzy reasoning. Of course, more trials
of simulation can be conducted for calculating the robustness
measure.
The robustness measure calculated in Step 6) takes account
of errors in the resulting fuzzy consequences as well as their
causing errors in fuzzy premises and looks like a measure of
partial difference. This is different from the robustness measures
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introduced in our previous work [32] that only considers errors


in the resulting fuzzy consequences and ignores their causing
errors in fuzzy premises. However, the robustness measure calculated in Step 6) is dened for a given pair of and , considering perturbations of fuzzy premises only. Obviously, this
is not sufcient to evaluate the robustness of a given fuzzy reasoning method. A better robustness measure should be a function of the given fuzzy reasoning method only and is irrelevant
of specic fuzzy relations and fuzzy premises. As a result, we
have the following algorithm with 500 trials of simulation being
conducted.
Simulation Algorithm 2:
Step 1) Generate 500 pairs of fuzzy relations and fuzzy
at random
premises
as follows, where
. For each
and
are
each generated in accordance with the uniform
probability distribution dened over the interval
.
Step 2) For each pair
, perform Simulation
Algorithm 1 and obtain
.
Step 3) Let

Step 4) Stop.
B. Robustness Measure II
The second category of robustness measures considers
only and ignores
. Symbolically, we denote

where
denotes certain norm operator.
As for
, we can have the following algorithm to
.
evaluate
Simulation Algorithm 3:
Step 1) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise with fuzzy relation
in accordance with the optimal
fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II.
Step 2) Generate 50 sets of random numbers
,
taking values in the interval
with
in accordance with a uniform
probability distribution.
Step 3) Let
if
if
if
Step 4) Let
.
Step 5) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
with fuzzy
relation
in accordance with the optimal

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

605

fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II,


.
Step 6) Calculate

Step 3) Let
if
if
if
if
if
if

where
denotes the optimal fuzzy reasoning
method presented in Section II and

Step 7) Stop.
Similar to Simulation Algorithm 2, we can have the following
algorithm.
Simulation Algorithm 4:
Step 1) Generate 500 pairs of fuzzy relations and fuzzy
premises
, at random
as follows, where
. For each
and
are
each generated in accordance with the uniform
probability distribution dened over the interval
.
, perform Simulation
Step 2) For each pair
Algorithm 3 and obtain
.
Step 3) Let

Step 4) Stop.
C. Robustness Measure III
The third category of robustness measures considers
well as

as

The algorithm for evaluating


is as follows.
Simulation Algorithm 5:
Step 1) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
correwith fuzzy relasponding to the fuzzy premise
in accordance with the optimal
tion
fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II.
Step 2) Generate 50 sets of random numbers
, with
and
each taking
values in the interval ( 1/40, 1/40) in accordance
with a uniform probability distribution.
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Step 4) Let
.
Step 5) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
with
in accordance with the optimal
fuzzy relation
fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II,
.
Step 6) Calculate

where
denotes the optimal fuzzy reasoning
method presented in Section II and

Step 7) Stop.
Similar to Simulation Algorithm 2, we can have the following
algorithm.
Simulation Algorithm 6:
Step 1) Generate 500 pairs of fuzzy relations and fuzzy
at random
premises
as follows, where
. For each
and
are
each generated in accordance with the uniform
probability distribution dened over the interval
.
Step 2) For each pair
, perform Simulation Algorithm 5 and obtain
.
Step 3) Let

Step 4) Stop.

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

D. Comparative Results
In order to judge which robustness measures should be
adopted for evaluating robustness of a given fuzzy reasoning
method, we perform Monte Carlo simulation according to the
following algorithm.
Simulation Algorithm 7:
Step 1) Generate 500 pairs of fuzzy relations and fuzzy
at random
premises
as follows, where
. For each
and
are
each generated in accordance with the uniform
probability distribution dened over the interval
.
Step 2) For each pair
, perform Simulation Algorithm 1 and obtain
. Let
.
, perform Simulation AlStep 3) For each pair
gorithm 3 and obtain
. Let
.
, perform Simulation AlStep 4) For each pair
gorithm 5 and obtain
. Let
.
Step 5) Stop.
Example 3.1: Consider the following fuzzy relation:

Further, let
.
Performing Simulation Algorithm 5, we obtain
. Suppose we ignore the contribution of the perturbations of fuzzy relations; then we obtain [refer to Step 6) of Simulation Algorithm 5]

Suppose we ignore the contribution of the perturbations of fuzzy


premises; then we obtain [refer to Step 6) of Simulation Algorithm 5]

This implies that the fuzzy reasoning method is much more


sensitive to perturbations of fuzzy relations than to those of
fuzzy premises. In order to improve robustness of fuzzy reasoning, more attention should be paid to how to attenuate perturbations of fuzzy relations. Further, 123.6383 is close to 117.
2968. The contribution of the perturbations of fuzzy premises
to the robustness measure becomes marginal if the contribution
of the perturbations of fuzzy relations is considered.
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TABLE II
ROBUSTNESS MEASURES OF OPTIMAL FUZZY REASONING METHOD =

Example 3.2: Table II tabulates the results of three different


robustness measures by performing Simulation Algorithm 7 for
and
are
three times (trials 1, 2, and 3). The values of
. As
close to each other, which are both much greater than
far as robustness of fuzzy reasoning is concerned, the perturbations of fuzzy relations are much more important than those of
fuzzy premises. This coincides with the observation presented
in Example 3.1.
IV. EMBEDDING FEEDBACK MECHANISMS INTO OPTIMAL
FUZZY REASONING
Our previous work has shown that optimal fuzzy reasoning
methods may be more robust than the CRI method [32], [33].
However, in the optimal fuzzy reasoning methods presented in
our previous work, as in the CRI method, it is implicitly assumed
that the fuzzy relation incorporates all the information underlying the fuzzy rules. keeps invariant during the process of
fuzzy reasoning. All new fuzzy premises are individually applied to with the understanding that the possible correlations
among different fuzzy premises should not impose constraints
on the resulting correlations among the resulting fuzzy consequences when the resulting fuzzy consequences are dened or
derived. The history of fuzzy reasoning makes no contribution to
the subsequent steps of inference in the fuzzy reasoning process.
Errors in must invariantly be transferred to each single new
fuzzy consequence. The capability for to attenuate the errors
in the new fuzzy premises is not improved as the fuzzy reasoning
is supposed to
process proceeds. This is undesirable since
mimic the process of human reasoning whose capability should
be improved as the reasoning process proceeds.
In order to improve the robustness of optimal fuzzy reasoning,
in this section we postulate that sequences of fuzzy premises and
their perturbations are not completely irrelevant. Rather, they
may be correlated to some extent. New fuzzy premises and their
perturbations convey useful information that should be incorporated into the initial fuzzy relation for later fuzzy reasoning.
That is, the fuzzy relation adopted in the fuzzy reasoning process
should not only incorporate the information of the given fuzzy
rules in terms of but also incorporate that of the new fuzzy
rules given by the new fuzzy premises and the new fuzzy consequences generated during the process of fuzzy reasoning. In this
way, the fuzzy relation adopted in the fuzzy reasoning process
is no longer invariant. Rather, it is a function of the history of
fuzzy reasoning. A feedback mechanism is explicitly embedded
into the process of fuzzy reasoning with the expectation that the
robustness of fuzzy reasoning is improved.
Several reasons explain why perturbations or errors may be
associated with the fuzzy relation and the new fuzzy premise
and why feedback mechanisms can help to attenuate these
errors.

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

1) Fuzzy rules are often extracted from human expertise. It is


overdemanding for human experts to accurately determine
what the corresponding fuzzy rules should be and how
many fuzzy rules are required. Actually, extraction results
depend on the underlying domains and goals. An identical
fuzzy premise may have different fuzzy consequence for
different application domains for different goal. As stated
in Section I, a more comprehensive form of fuzzy rule
for human expertise is to comprise three distinct parts: IF
fuzzy premise THEN fuzzy consequence FOR fuzzy goal.
The existing form of fuzzy rule (IF fuzzy premise THEN
fuzzy consequence) is an approximation of the more comprehensive form of fuzzy rule. This naturally results in
errors in fuzzy rules given in the form IF fuzzy premise
THEN fuzzy consequence.
2) Even if human expertise can exactly be given in the form
IF fuzzy premise THEN fuzzy consequence, the corresponding membership functions for the required fuzzy or
linguistic variables can hardly be determined accurately.
Actually, this was the basic motivation for our previous
work on the robustness analysis of fuzzy reasoning in terms
of -equalities of fuzzy sets [26], [29]. Further, human expertise does not specify how various parts of fuzzy rules
should be composed into a single fuzzy relation . There
is a variety of connectives or operators that can be adopted
to make up the fuzzy relation . Further, discretization
of continuous universes often leads to substantial errors
in fuzzy systems modeling [35]. It is highly questionable
that a single fuzzy relation can accurately capture all the
information conveyed by the given fuzzy rules. More reasonably, the given fuzzy rules should be transferred into a
.
single fuzzy relation with an associated error
3) Precise approximation or description of a given nonlinear
function or human expertise with multiple inputs and multiple outputs may require a large number of fuzzy rules and
lead to curse of dimensionality. Several methods are available to reduce large rule base to a small number of fuzzy
associated with the resulting fuzzy relarules [36].
associated with the resulting fuzzy
tion as well as
premise is incurred.
4) Besides human expertise, fuzzy rules can serve as a pure
fuzzy system with fuzzy inputs and fuzzy outputs and be
extracted from observation data. This has been studied extensively in the literature, and a large variety of methods is
available to extract fuzzy rules from observation data [20].
However, noises and outliers are often associated with the
observation data, which result in errors in fuzzy premises
and fuzzy rules [37].
5) By embedding feedback mechanisms into fuzzy reasoning, it is expected that robustness against errors in
fuzzy premises and fuzzy rules would become an intrinsic
attribute of fuzzy reasoning. Consider errors in fuzzy

607

premises: it is highly desirable that the process of fuzzy


reasoning be sensitive to large errors in fuzzy premises
and insensitive to small errors. However, a given fuzzy
relation adopted in the fuzzy reasoning process can hardly
satisfy these two different or even conicting requirements. Suppose that errors in fuzzy premises are predicted
on the basis of the history of fuzzy reasoning; then the
fuzzy relation adopted in the process of fuzzy reasoning
can be dynamically adjusted to satisfy the robustness
requirement. For errors in fuzzy rules or fuzzy relation
, if the history of fuzzy reasoning is used to adjust the
fuzzy relation online, then the errors are dispersed over
the initial fuzzy relation as well as the history of fuzzy
reasoning and become less crucial than otherwise.
Now the problem is how to embed feedback mechanisms
into fuzzy reasoning or how to dynamically adjust the fuzzy
by using the history of fuzzy reasoning. Here we
relation
follow a simple idea. An extra fuzzy relation
is dynamically generated by using the latest pairs of fuzzy premises
and fuzzy consequences. This extra fuzzy relation is then united
to make up an overall fuzzy relawith the fuzzy relation
tion for optimal fuzzy reasoning. More specically, suppose
has incorporated the information of the fuzzy rules given a priori. Further suppose that fuzzy premise
is given
for fuzzy reasoning at time , with the resulting fuzzy conse. Let
quence being
be the corresponding fuzzy relaand . See (4.1) at the bottom of the
tion that incorporates
incorporates the information of the latest fuzzy repage.
lations if any. The overall fuzzy relation adopted in the process
of fuzzy reasoning is

(4.2)
replaces the initial
for optimal fuzzy reasoning. Given
fuzzy premise
at time 1, the corresponding fuzzy concan be determined by using according to the
sequence
optimal fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II.
and
are then used to make up
that updates
and
accordingly. An explicit feedback mechanism is embedded
into the process of fuzzy reasoning.
and a single fuzzy
Note that given the fuzzy relation
premise , the fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section II
generates a single fuzzy consequence . The method is a mapping from the universe of single fuzzy premises to the universe
of single fuzzy consequences. However, for the fuzzy reasoning
method with the feedback mechanism presented in this section,
it does not make sense to state that a single fuzzy premise
generates a single fuzzy consequence individually. Rather,
it should be stated that a single sequence of fuzzy premises

if
if
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(4.1)

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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

generates a single sequence of fuzzy


. The new fuzzy reasoning
consequences
method is a mapping from the universe of sequences of fuzzy
premises to the universe of sequences of fuzzy consequences.
is viewed as a special
Alternatively, if
group form of fuzzy premises, then it can be said that the new
method is a method of group fuzzy reasoning that generates a
group of fuzzy consequences for a group of fuzzy premises.
Overall, the new method for optimal fuzzy reasoning with the
feedback mechanism can be summarized in the following.
BEGIN
Step 1) Let
Step 2) Initialize the parameter , the fuzzy relation , the
rst fuzzy premise , and the given stopping criterion of fuzzy reasoning process
Step 3) Let
Step 4) Determine the fuzzy consequence
corresponding
by using the optimal fuzzy reasoning method
to
(presented in Section II), or
Step 5) Obtain the extra fuzzy relation
and the overall
fuzzy relation according to (4.1) and (4.2)
Step 6) If the given stopping criterion of fuzzy reasoning
process is satised, go to Step 11)
Step 7) Let
Step 8) Obtain fuzzy premise
at time
Step 9) Determine the fuzzy consequence
corresponding
to
by using the optimal fuzzy reasoning method
presented in Section 2, or
Step 10) Go to Step 5)
Step 11) Stop
END
The given stopping criterion of fuzzy reasoning process can
be in various forms. An example form is that the process of
fuzzy reasoning is stopped upon
. Another example
criterion is that the process of fuzzy reasoning is stopped upon
threshold, that is, the distance between and
being beyond a given threshold. On the other hand, denitions
other than (4.1) and (4.2) can be employed for
and . For
example, can be constructed in such a way that the fuzzy
rules are selectively or conditionally red, based on the history
of fuzzy reasoning. That is, other feedback mechanisms can also
be introduced. Further, is a parameter that should be chosen a
priori. How should be chosen or how it can affect the performance of the fuzzy reasoning method presented in this section is
a research topic that deserves future investigation. On the other
hand, we set
, and this implies that the entries of
are always greater than the corresponding ones of . Operators
other than union can be considered in the future. Of course, we
note that
does not imply that the fuzzy reasoning
process can only increase the values in the matrix since
does not keep invariant in the fuzzy reasoning process.
Incorporating optimization and feedback mechanisms into
the fuzzy reasoning process is partially aimed to improve the robustness of the fuzzy reasoning process. However, there is risk
, which in turn magnify
that the errors in result in errors in
rather than attenuate the errors in by incorporating
into .
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tial risk at this stage. However, the simulation results presented


in the next section tend to demonstrate that the optimization and
feedback mechanisms can really improve the robustness of the
fuzzy reasoning process. Further, a possible measure to circumvent this risk is to include some kind of weighting coefcients
in the optimization function that may lter possible noises associated with .
A related question is whether the introduced feedback mechanism can improve or impair the accuracy of the fuzzy reasoning process. From an extreme perspective, there is no answer for this question. This is because no correct fuzzy consequence is known or assumed for any given fuzzy premise,
no matter what a fuzzy reasoning method may be. However,
we can say that the fuzzy reasoning method proposed in this
paper is more accurate that the CRI method in the sense that
the cost function of (2.1) is minimized. The accuracy of fuzzy
reasoning can be also judged on the basis of other criteria. For
example, a set of heuristic rules can be introduced to judge if
a fuzzy reasoning method demonstrates reasonable or desirable
. An example heuristic
performance. Suppose
for a desirable fuzzy reasoning
rule asserts that
method . On the other hand, a fuzzy reasoning method can
be applied to modeling and control of complex systems, and
this offers another setting for accuracy analysis of the fuzzy
reasoning method. Obviously, the accuracy problem denes another research topic that should be investigated in the future for
the fuzzy reasoning method proposed in this paper. First, the
accuracy problem or properties need to be formulated or dened. Secondly, the accuracy properties should be incorporated
into the optimization function of the fuzzy reasoning process.
Finally, a desirable fuzzy reasoning method that optimizes the
given (objective) function is derived.
Note that serves as the overall fuzzy rule base that is dynamically updated in the fuzzy reasoning process. New fuzzy
rules are generated online to replace some of existing fuzzy rules
). Similar ideas can be observed in the literature. There
(in
are several manners to dynamically adjust fuzzy rules or their effects, including updating the fuzzy rule base, updating the fuzzy
set denitions, and/or updating the scaling factors [38]. For example, in the self-organizing controller of Mamdani, a performance monitor is adopted to update the underlying fuzzy rules
[39]. In the navigation control of robot, fuzzy rules are selectively red from the fuzzy rule base in response to changes of
the robots environment [40]. In [41], fuzzy membership functions are updated online. In the fuzzy system with dynamic rule
base, the scaling factor for the underlying universes of discourse
is dynamically adjusted according to the system input [36]. In
fuzzy system identication, the underlying fuzzy rules are continually updated as new observed data arrive [20]. However, all
these ideas are based on the assumption that an additional plant
is available. The fuzzy rules are updated in accordance with the
responses of the plant. The dynamics of the plant is involved. On
the other hand, the idea presented in this section does not rely
on external plants. The fuzzy rule base is updated in accordance
with the history of fuzzy premises and fuzzy consequences. No
external dynamics is required. If we treat the feedback loop from
the plant to fuzzy rule base as an outer one (as observed in the
literature), then the feedback loop presented in this section can

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

be treated as an inner loop. These two loops should be complementary rather than conicting.
Similar differences can be observed between the feedback
mechanism presented in this section and those incorporated in
fuzzy neural networks that implement fuzzy reasoning. In the
adaptive-network-based fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) [42],
the network is updated by using a hybrid learning algorithm
to t crisp-in crisp-out data pairs. The feedback to the network occurs as new data pairs are given. In the compensatory
neurofuzzy systems [43], crisp-in crisp-out data pairs are
employed to dynamically rene the fuzzy operators adopted in
the networks. In [44], a new adaptive fuzzy inference neural
network (AFINN) is proposed to model crisp-in crisp-out
data pairs. The underlying feedback mechanism is similar to
that of ANFIS. There are two major differences in feedback
mechanism between these works and the one presented in
this section. First, these fuzzy neural networks serve as a
modeling formalism for crisp-in crisp-out data pairs, whereas
the fuzzy reasoning formalism presented in this section can
handle fuzzy-in fuzzy-out data pairs. Secondly, the feedback
loop occurs in the neural networks as learning algorithms are
employed to train the networks. However, the feedback mechanism in the fuzzy reasoning formalism presented in this section
is intrinsic in the sense that no learning algorithms are invoked.
On the other hand, the feedback mechanisms incorporated
in recurrent neural networks can be treated as intrinsic since
they link outputs of a recurrent neural network or the neurons
thereof backward to the inputs of the neural network or other
neurons thereof [45]. The recurrent neural networks are mainly
devoted to crisp-in crisp-out data pairs. The fuzzied radial
basis function networks proposed in [46] can handle fuzzy-in
fuzzy-out data pairs and do nonlinear regression analysis.
No intrinsic feedback mechanisms are involved in them. The
most related work should be the fuzzied recurrent neural
fuzzy network that can handle fuzzy-in fuzzy-out data pairs
[47]. However, the fuzzy reasoning formalism presented in
this section distinguishes itself from the fuzzied recurrent
neural fuzzy network in several aspects. First, the feedback
mechanism presented in this section is explicitly expressed
in terms of fuzzy rules. This makes it intuitively interpreted.
Secondly, no learning algorithms are involved in the feedback
mechanism presented in this section, and thus the potential
weaknesses of learning algorithms are avoided. Lastly, fuzzy
reasoning is treated as a control problem, which leads to the
triple ingredients perspective of fuzzy reasoning as will be
discussed in Section VI.
V. SIMULATION RESULTS
Denote the fuzzy reasoning method presented in Section IV
. Recall that can denote the fuzzy reasoning method preas
is more robust
sented in Section II. Now we need to judge if
than . If the answer is positive, then we can say that feedback
mechanisms do improve the robustness of fuzzy reasoning. Following the observation of Section III that the contribution of the
perturbations of fuzzy premises to the robustness measure becomes marginal if the contribution of the perturbations of fuzzy
relations is considered, here we consider perturbations of fuzzy
premises and those of fuzzy relations individually.
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609

A. Robustness Against Perturbations of Fuzzy Premises


An essential difference between (without feedback mech(with feedback mechanism) is that the former
anism) and
maps single fuzzy premises to single fuzzy premises individually, whereas the latter maps sequences of fuzzy premises to
sequences of fuzzy consequences. Symbolically, we can denote
. This makes
robustness evaluation of
different from that proposed in
Section III-A. Instead of considering a robustness measure with
respect to a pair of fuzzy relation and a single fuzzy premise
, we need to rst consider a robustness measure with respect
to a pair of fuzzy relation and a sequence of fuzzy premises
. This leads to the following algorithm.
Simulation Algorithm 8:
corStep 1) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
responding to the fuzzy premise
with fuzzy relation
in accordance with
with parameter
; that is,
.
Step 2) Generate 20 sequences of random numbers,
,
taking values in the interval ( 1/40, 1/40)
with
in accordance with a uniform probability distribution.
Step 3) Let
if
if
if
Step 4) Let
.
Step 5) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
with
with paramfuzzy relation in accordance with
, or
eter
.
Step 6) Calculate

where

Step 7) Stop.
In the above, 20 trials of simulation are actually conducted. In each trial, a robustness measure
is calculated.
The average of these values is then treated as the robustness
with respect to
and
. Of
index of
course, more trials can be conducted. Note that
reduces to

610

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

TABLE III
ROBUSTNESS MEASURES OF DIFFERENT FUZZY REASONING METHODS
AGAINST PERTURBATIONS OF FUZZY PREMISES

if
. Therefore, the above algorithm is also applicable
for evaluating robustness of for a given pair of fuzzy relation
and the sequence of fuzzy premises
. The
corresponding output is
. In this
way, we can employ the following algorithm to evaluate and
and
against perturbations of
compare robustness of
fuzzy premises.
Simulation Algorithm 9:
Step 1) Generate 20 pairs of fuzzy relations and sequences
of fuzzy premises
at random as follows, where
.
For each
and
are each generated in accordance with the uniform probability distribution dened over the interval
.
, perStep 2) For each pair
form Simulation Algorithm 8 for
and obtain

Step 2) Generate

20

sets

of

random

numbers,
,
taking values in the interval
with
in accordance with a uniform
probability distribution.
Step 3) Let
if
if
if

Step 4) Let
.
Step 5) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
in accordance with
fuzzy relation
rameter

with
with pa-

.
Step 6) Calculate

. Let
.
Step 3) For each pair
Algorithm 8 for
obtain
. Let

, perform Simulation
(with parameter
) and

.
Step 4) Stop.
Example 5.1: Simulation Algorithm 9 was performed for
three times (trials 1, 2, and 3). Table III tabulates the resulting
is about half of
.
robustness measures. We can see that
This implies that the optimal fuzzy reasoning method
with
the feedback mechanism is much more robust against perturbations of fuzzy premises than the optimal fuzzy reasoning method
without a feedback mechanism. Feedback mechanisms do improve the robustness of fuzzy reasoning.
B. Robustness Against Perturbations of Fuzzy Relations
Similar to Simulation Algorithm 8, we can have the following
algorithm to evaluate the robustness of the fuzzy reasoning
method
against the perturbations of fuzzy relations with
respect to a given pair of fuzzy relation and the sequence of
.
fuzzy premises
Simulation Algorithm 10:
Step 1) Obtain the fuzzy consequence
corresponding to the fuzzy premise
with
with paramfuzzy relation in accordance with
eter
.
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where

Step 7) Stop.
reduces to if
, the above algorithm is
Since
for a given
also applicable for evaluating robustness of
pair of fuzzy relation
and the sequence of fuzzy
premises
. The corresponding output is
. In this way, we can employ the
following algorithm to evaluate and compare robustness of
and
against perturbations of fuzzy relations. Here we
note that
is evaluated in comparison with . No other
existing fuzzy reasoning methods including the CRI method
are considered. This is because our previous work has shown
that is more robust than the CRI method [32].
Simulation Algorithm 11:
Step 1) Generate 20 pairs of fuzzy relations and
sequences of fuzzy premises
at random as
follows, where
. For each
and
are
each generated in accordance with the uniform

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

611

TABLE IV
ROBUSTNESS MEASURES OF DIFFERENT FUZZY REASONING METHODS
AGAINST PERTURBATIONS OF FUZZY RELATIONS

Fig. 2. Diagram of open-loop (fuzzy) reasoning for the CRI method.

Fig. 1. Diagram of a feedback control system.

probability distribution dened over the interval


.
Step 2) For each pair
, perand obtain
form Simulation Algorithm 10 for
. Let
Step 3) For each pair
Algorithm 10 for

.
, perform Simulation
and obtain
. Let

in the air conditioner, which provides a real voltage according to


actual air temperature in the room. The air conditioner and the
air in the room constitute a closed-loop feedback control system.
A closed-loop feedback system reduces to an open-loop control
system if no output signals or state information are used by the
controller to deliver control signals.
Besides the controlled object and the controller, a third ingredient for a control system is the underlying control goals and/or
constraints. The rst control goal is concerned with stability of
the control system. The air temperature under the control of the
air conditioner should be stable rather than tend to grow without
an upper bound. The second control goal is to achieve desirable
performance of the control system. The air temperature should
not uctuate overdramatically. The time to achieve the desired
air temperature should be reasonably small. The overshoot of
the air temperature should not be overly large. In the context of
optimal control, the control performance may be expressed as a
functional such as

(6.1)
denotes the state vector of the controlled object at
where
its transpose,
the control signal vector
. time and
matrices of appropriate dimensions, and
at time
Step 4) Stop.
Example 5.2: Simulation Algorithm 11 was performed for the terminal or nal time of concern. The corresponding control
three times (trials 1, 2, and 3). Table IV tabulates the resulting goal is to minimize the objective functional .
Control constraints may also be imposed. For example, there
is about a third of
. The feedrobustness measures.
should be an upper bound for the switching frequency of actidramatically improves the robustness
back mechanism in
of fuzzy reasoning. Recalling the results presented in Example vation/stopping of the outdoor condensing unit of an air condi5.1, we can see that the feedback mechanism is more effective tioner. The corresponding control signals cannot follow an arbito attenuate the perturbations of fuzzy relations than to attenuate trary law. In summary, a control system contains three distinct
classes of ingredients: controlled objects, controllers, and conthose of fuzzy premises.
trol goals/constraints.
With the triple ingredients perspective of control, we can reexamine various fuzzy reasoning methods, including those preVI. A CONTROL-THEORETIC PERSPECTIVE
sented in Sections II and IV. For the CRI method, each single
OF FUZZY REASONING
fuzzy premise generates a single fuzzy consequence, and no
Recall that in control engineering, a control system consists other fuzzy premises or fuzzy consequences are involved. The
of at least a controlled object and a controller [34], as depicted in fuzzy premise is applied to the underlying fuzzy rule base. Then
Fig. 1. The controller accepts input signals and delivers control the fuzzy rule base can be viewed as the controlled object and
signals to the controlled object. The output signals are often used the CRI method as the corresponding controller. The fuzzy rule
by the controller to deliver new control signals and thus make up base and the CRI method constitutes an open-loop reasoning
a feedback loop from the controlled object to the controller. For system, as depicted in Fig. 2. However, the underlying control
example, consider an air conditioner installed in a room.3 The or reasoning goals/constraints are not explicitly stated.
air in the room and compressor in the air conditioner serve as
presented in
The optimal fuzzy reasoning method
the controlled object, and the control clip in the air conditioner Section II also corresponds to an open-loop control system.
serves as the controller. The input signal is an expected voltage However, the reasoning goal is given in terms of (2.1), which
according to desired air temperature (e.g., 23 C) designed by species an objective function for each single reasoning step.
users. The output signal is the actual air temperature in the room. This contrasts with the global objective function given in
The feedback information is gained by the temperature sensor
(6.1), which takes account of the whole process of control
(reasoning). The fuzzy rule base serves as the rst ingredient of
3The description presented here is oversimplifying and inaccurate. It is only
fuzzy reasoning, the reasoning method serves as the second
for an explanation of the concept of feedback control.
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612

IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON FUZZY SYSTEMS, VOL. 16, NO. 3, JUNE 2008

Fig. 3. Diagram of closed-loop (fuzzy) reasoning for = .

ingredient of fuzzy reasoning, and the reasoning goals/constraints serve as the third ingredient of fuzzy reasoning. Instead
of dening a reasoning method a priori, a theory of fuzzy
reasoning should guide how to synthesize the desired reasoning
method to achieve or satisfy given reasoning goals/constraints.
This is partially exemplied in the optimal fuzzy reasoning
method . However, no feedback mechanisms are explicitly
involved in since the objective function given in (2.1) is local
rather than global.
presented in Section V inThe optimal fuzzy reasoning
volves an explicit feedback mechanism and corresponds to a
closed-loop reasoning system as depicted in Fig. 3. The rst
two ingredients of fuzzy reasoning are the same as those for
the reasoning method . Equation (2.1) still species a reasoning goal for the reasoning process. However, an additional
reasoning goal is to improve the robustness of the fuzzy reasoning process. The underlying robustness measures given in
Section III are global in nature in the sense that they take account
of the whole reasoning process. In this way, it is a reasonable
result to embed an explicit feedback mechanism into the reasoning process. On the other hand, it should be noted that how
to synthesize the required feedback mechanisms that guarantee
the desired goals of reasoning robustness is an open problem.
presented in Section IV, the
In the fuzzy reasoning method
reasoning results of the latest reasoning steps are employed
as feedback information. This only species one possible form
of feedback mechanisms. An alternative form is to employ the
reasoning result of a single reasoning step in the history of reasoning that is closest to the fuzzy relation . Multiple criteria
can be adopted to identify the required feedback information in
the reasoning process, depending on the underlying reasoning
goals/constraints.
No matter whether an explicit feedback mechanism is employed, the preceding discussions suggest that fuzzy reasoning
can be treated as a control problem. The underlying three ingredients should be explicitly identied. A sound theory of fuzzy
reasoning should clearly formulate the possible relationships
among the three distinct ingredients of fuzzy reasoning.
Treating fuzzy reasoning as a control problem opens a new
arena for applying various control principles of feedback control and optimization to fuzzy reasoning in particular and reasoning in general. For example, robust control is concerned with
how to analyze and synthesize a single controller that guarantees the required stability and performance for an uncertain
class of controlled objects in the presence of input/output noises
[48]. As a counterpart to robust control, we can talk about robust reasoning. A robust reasoning method should guarantee the
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required reasoning robustness even if perturbations are associated with the underlying rule bases and premises. On the other
hand, adaptive control is concerned with how to dynamically
adapt the controllers to accommodate the underlying changes
occurring to the controlled objects online [49]. The principles of
adaptive control should lead to adaptive reasoning that adjusts
the required reasoning methods to accommodate the underlying
changes occurring to the knowledge bases during reasoning. Of
course, optimal fuzzy reasoning can serve as the optimal control counterpart in fuzzy reasoning and should be further investigated.
Another direction to extend the underlying principle (treating
fuzzy reasoning as a control problem) of the reasoning methods
and
is to apply various control principles of feedback control and optimization to classical logical inferences. Here we
, no logical lannote that in the reasoning methods and
guages are involved. They are not based on logic and cannot be
treated as an extended form of logical inference. However, this
does not mean that the triple ingredients perspective cannot be
applied to logical inference. For a logical system, the underlying
axioms and the given knowledge base can serve as a controlled
object, and the reasoning method can serve as the corresponding
controller. Suppose a reasoning goal can be identied a priori to
serve as the third ingredient of reasoning; then the resulting reasoning process generates a consequence for each given premise.
The consequence is not only a function of the axioms, the given
knowledge, and the premise but also a function of underlying
reasoning goals/constraints. This should lead to new logics that
are dramatically different from various logics that ignore the underlying reasoning goals/constraints.
VII. CONCLUDING REMARKS
Robustness of fuzzy reasoning is concerned with the effects
of perturbations associated with given fuzzy rule bases and/or
fuzzy premises on fuzzy consequences. This problem is important since fuzzy rule bases can hardly be extracted from human
expertise or observation data accurately, and quantifying fuzzy
premises inevitably incurs errors. Our previous work shows that
the popular Zadeh CRI method of fuzzy reasoning is not as
robust as desirable, and the optimal fuzzy reasoning methods,
which generates fuzzy consequences for given fuzzy premises
such that given objective functions are minimized or optimized,
may be more robust. Inspired by the idea in control engineering
that feedback may help to attenuate the uncertainty associated
with the controlled object and the noises associated with the inputs/outputs, in the preceding sections we treat fuzzy reasoning

CAI AND ZHANG: FUZZY REASONING AS A CONTROL PROBLEM

as a control problem and embed feedback mechanisms into optimal fuzzy reasoning methods to further improve the robustness
of fuzzy reasoning. More specically, the given fuzzy rule base
serves as the controlled object, and the fuzzy reasoning method
serves as the corresponding controller. The fuzzy rule base and
the reasoning method constitute a control system, which may be
open-loop or closed-loop, to achieve or satisfy given reasoning
goals/constraints. The fuzzy rule base, the reasoning methods,
and the reasoning goals/constraints specify the three distinct ingredients of fuzzy reasoning. In the preceding sections, a new
fuzzy reasoning method with an explicit feedback mechanism
is proposed and evaluated. The fuzzy consequence obtained in
a specic reasoning step is not only a function of the underlying
fuzzy rule base and the fuzzy premise applied in the reasoning
step but also a function of the history of fuzzy reasoning. It is
also a function of reasoning goal of concern. The new fuzzy
reasoning method is a mapping from the universe of sequences
of fuzzy premises to the universe of sequences of fuzzy consequences rather than from the universe of single fuzzy premises
to the universe of single fuzzy consequences. The Monte Carlo
simulation shows that the new fuzzy reasoning method is much
more robust than the optimal fuzzy reasoning methods, and the
feedback mechanism does signicantly improve the robustness
of fuzzy reasoning. The work presented in this paper sets a
new starting point to develop a sound theory of fuzzy reasoning
that formulates the relationships among the three ingredients
of fuzzy reasoning. It also offers new opportunity for various
principles of feedback control and optimization to be applied
in fuzzy reasoning in particular, and reasoning in general. New
forms of reasoning such as robust reasoning and adaptive reasoning can be explored in the future, in which logical or nonlogical languages can be adopted. Since a fuzzy reasoning method
actually denes a class of pure fuzzy systems that are different
from Mamdami fuzzy systems and T-S fuzzy systems, it can
be expected that the new fuzzy reasoning method presented in
this paper can be used for modeling and control of complex
systems and for decision-making under complex environments.
Applications of the ideas and methods presented in this paper to
real-world problems should be also explored in the future.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The valuable comments of the anonymous reviewers are
gratefully appreciated.
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Kai-Yuan Cai was born in April 1965. He received
the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from Beihang University (Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics), Beijing, China, in 1984, 1987, and 1991, respectively.
He is a Cheung Kong Scholar (Chair Professor)
jointly appointed by the Ministry of Education of
China and the Li Ka Shing Foundation of Hong
Kong in 1999. He has been a full Professor at
Beihang University since 1995. He was a Research
Fellow with the Centre for Software Reliability, City

Authorized licensd use limted to: IE Xplore. Downlade on May 10,2 at 19:438 UTC from IE Xplore. Restricon aply.

University, London, U.K., and a Visiting Scholar with the City University of
Hong Kong; Swinburge University of Technology, Australia; University of
Technology, Sydney, Australia; and Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. He
has published more than 35 research papers in international journals and is the
author of Software Defect and Operational Prole Modeling (Boston, MA:
Kluwer, 1998), Introduction to Fuzzy Reliability (Boston, MA: Kluwer, 1996),
and Elements of Software Reliability Engineering [Beijing, China: Tshinghua
Univ. Press, 1995 (in Chinese)]. His main research interests include software
reliability and testing, intelligent systems and control, and software cybernetics.
He is a member of the Editorial Board of Fuzzy Sets and Systems and Editor of
the Kluwer International Series on Asian Studies in Computer and Information
Science. He was Program Committee Cochair for the Fifth International
Conference on Quality Software (Melbourne, Australia, September 2005), the
First International Workshop on Software Cybernetics (Hong Kong, September
2004), and the Second International Workshop on Software Cybernetics
(Edinburgh, UK, July 2005); and General Cochair for the Third International
Workshop on Software Cybernetics (Chicago, September 2006) and the Second
International Symposium on Service-Oriented System Engineering (Shanghai,
China, October 2006). He also was Guest Editor for Fuzzy Sets and Systems
(1996), the International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge
Engineering (2006), and the Journal of Systems and Software (2006).

Lei Zhang was born in Tianjin, China, in April 1977.


He received the B.S. degree from NanKai University,
Tianjin, China, in 1999 and the Ph.D. degree from
Beihang University, Beijing, China, in 2005.
He has been doing postdoctoral work at Beihang
University, Beijing University of Aeronautics and
Astronautics, since 2005. His main research interests
include intelligent systems and control and fuzzy
sets and systems.