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Analytical Study of AHP and Fuzzy AHP Techniques
Amit Mishra, and Sanjay Kumar Dubey
Abstract—Decision making is a comprehensive approach that involves selecting from several wide-ranging alternatives. Different analysis tools can be used in order to make decisions and solve problems in situations involving quantitative variables and small number of criteria. However, many times beside the measurable variables, there exist qualitative variables, or people are supposed to prefer the best among the many choices, thus, an analytical way to make a successful decision is needed. Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) is one of the best ways for deciding among the complex criteria structure in different levels. Fuzzy AHP is a synthetic extension of classical AHP method when the fuzziness of the decision makers is considered. The main aim of this paper is to provide a detailed analytical comparison of classical AHP and fuzzy AHP. Index Terms— AHP, FAHP, MCDM, FMADM

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E all make decisions all the time consciously and unconsciously. The information we gather is to help us understand occurrences, in order to develop good judgments to make decisions about these occurrences. Human lives are the sum of their decisionswhether in business or in personal spheres. In daily lives, people often have to make decisions. “When decision is made” is important as “what decided”. Deciding too quickly can be hazardous; delaying too long can mean missed opportunities. In the end, it is crucial that people make up their mind. To make a decision we need to know the problem, the need and purpose of the decision, the criteria of the decision, their sub criteria, stakeholders and groups affected and the alternative actions to take. We then try to determine the best alternative, or in the case of resource allocation, we need priorities for the alternatives to allocate their appropriate share of the resources. What people need is a systematic and comprehensive approach to decision making [15]. In such cases, Multi Criteria Decision Making (MCDM) is required. MCDM is one of the most important fields of operations research and deals with the problems that involve multiple and conflicting objectives. It is obvious that when more than objective exists in the problem, making a decision becomes more complex. MCDM is both an approach and a set of techniques, with the aim of providing an overall ordering of options, from the most preferred to the least preferred option (The London School of Economics and Political Science, 2007). MCDM approaches provide a systematic procedure to help decision makers choose the most desirable and satisfactory alternative


∑ Amit Mishra is with Amity University Uttar Pradesh, NOIDA, India,201303. ∑ Sanjay Kumar Dubey is with Amity University Uttar Pradesh, NOIDA, India,201303.

under uncertain situation Y.K. Cheng [17]. Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is widely used for multi-criteria decision making and has successfully been applied to many practical decision-making problems. AHP, was proposed by T. L. Saaty [14], is a method for complicated and unstructured problems and also it is an approach that uses a hierarchical model having levels of goal, criteria, possible sub-criteria, and alternatives. The AHP, can be stated, a decision – making and estimation method which gives the percentage distribution of decision points according to factors affecting decision, that is used if there is a defined decision hierarchy. With AHP, the decision maker selects the alternative that best meets his or her decision criteria developing a numerical score to rank each decision alternative based on how well each alternative meets them. In spite of its popularity, this method is often criticized for its inability to adequately handle the inherent uncertainty and imprecision associated with the mapping of the decision maker’s perception to exact numbers. In the traditional formulation of the AHP, human’s judgments are represented as exact (or crisp, according to the fuzzy logic terminology) numbers. However, in many practical cases the human preference model is uncertain and decision-makers might be reluctant or unable to assign exact numerical values to the comparison judgments. For instance, when evaluating different services, the decision-makers are usually unsure in their level of preference due to incomplete and uncertain information about possible service providers and their performance. Since some of the service evaluation criteria are subjective and qualitative, it is very difficult for the decision-maker to express the strength of his preferences and to provide exact pair wise comparison judgments. A natural way to cope with such uncertain judgments is to express the comparison ratios as fuzzy sets or fuzzy numbers, which incorporate the vagueness of the human thinking.



Hence fuzzy AHP came into existence. In fuzzy AHP, fuzzy theory is combined with AHP to analyze ambiguous real world problems. The fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP)-based decision-making method is effective for constructing an evaluation method, which can assist software developers, users and procurers in evaluating software quality to identify the most appropriate qualities, or factors in software system development. It can also help software researchers and consumers assess software quality, making it highly applicable for academic and commercial purposes. Fuzzy multiple attribute decision-making (FMADM) methods have been developed to address the imprecision in assessing the relative importance of attributes and the performance ratings of alternatives with respect to attributes. Fuzzy application areas include estimation, prediction, control, approximate reasoning, intelligent system design, machine learning, image processing, machine vision, pattern recognition, medical computing, robotics, optimization, civil, chemical and industrial engineering. Fuzzy techniques for treating uncertain qualitative information include fuzzy set theory, fuzzy arithmetic and mathematics, fuzzy logic, fuzzy decision making and fuzzy control. In general fuzzy procedures transform through uncertain basic rules that reflect the behavior of the system concerned and consequently the uncertain or crisp information as initial and boundary conditions as well as the input variables are mapped so as to produce again uncertain or crisp results. Another elegance of the fuzzy set theory is that during the assimilation of input data it does not require any specification concerning the data structure.


It is used in cases where the information evaluations are certain.

If the information evaluations are not certain, fuzzy method is preferred. It can reduce or even eliminate the fuzziness and vagueness existing in many decision making problems.

It is a robust way to solve determined decision making problem. However, it neglects the uncertainty and vagueness caused by subjective preference of decision maker in criteria scoring. It only offers deterministic value options, hence inflexible approach.

The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) is an approach that is suitable for dealing with complex systems related to making a choice from among several alternatives and which provides a comparison of the considered options. This method was first presented by T. L. Saaty [14]. The AHP process has been successfully applied in diverse problems E. W. T. Ngai [4]; S. S. Kima et al. [13]; W. Ossadnik, & O. Lange [16]; L. Zhu et al.[8]. But its inability to deal with uncertainties encountered in most of the real world problems gave rise to fuzzy AHP. Fuzzy AHP allows decision makers to present their references within a reasonable interval if they are not sure about them. Many FAHP methods were proposed based on the concepts of the fuzzy set theory and hierarchical structure analysis. Some researchers have studied the FAHP which is the extension of the theory proposed by T. L. Saaty [14] and also have proved that the FAHP is more effective in these kinds of decision-making processes compared to traditional AHP. To deal with vagueness of human thought, L. Zadeh [7] first introduced the fuzzy set theory, which was oriented to the rationality of uncertainty due to imprecision or vagueness. Van Laarhoven and W. Pedrycz [10] directly extended the AHP method with triangular fuzzy numbers (TFNs).

It can provide the decision makers with flexible value options which are in-between a certain range, thus making it more suitable to solve real world problems (fuzzy problems). It provides a more comprehensive ranking of the requirements for a project as compared to AHP. It has a judgment matrix that uses triangular or trapezoidal fuzzy number. This approach is applied to solve problems that involve a single decision maker along with multiple criteria decision making.

It provides a less comprehensive ranking of the requirements for a project.

The judgment matrix in AHP uses constant pair wise comparison value.

It is used to solve problems that involve multiple decision makers along with multiple criteria decision making.



D. Y. Chang [3] introduced a new approach of using TFNs for pair wise comparison and also supplied the key point of extent analysis method for deriving the synthetic extent values. This approach is one of the most popular approaches in the FAHP field. L. Mikhailov [6] provided a good discussion of the troubles with constructing fuzzy reciprocal matrices using fuzzy comparisons and their reciprocals through the same fashion as the crisp prioritization procedures. Kahraman [1] implemented Chang’s method to measure the customer satisfaction in catering firms in Turkey. C. Metin [2] proposed a practical decision support mechanism on ensuring multiple criteria analysis of shipping registry selection using FAHP. As a powerful analytical procedure, FAHP is usually combined with other methods in applications. RJ Kuo [12] integrated FAHP and artificial neural network for the location selecting of convenience store. R. Rostamzadeh, S. Sofian [11] presented a hierarchy multiple criteria decision-making model using FAHP and TOPSIS for prioritizing effective 7Ms (Management, Manpower, Marketing, Method, Machine, Material and Money) to improve production systems performance. H Jung [5] proposed a FAHP goal programming approach for integrated production-planning problem considering manufacturing partners at the background of a TFT-LCD manufacturing firm. Lin Wang [9] proposed a valuable approach based on FAHP and BSC for evaluating the performance of TPL enterprises. Furthermore, many fuzzy AHP methods developed by various authors can be found in literature.

TABLE 2 LITERATURE REVIEW Author Zadeh Year 1965 Description Fuzzy set theory which was oriented to the rationality of uncertainty due to imprecision or vagueness of human thought was proposed. AHP method was directly extended with triangular fuzzy numbers (TFNs) and a fuzzy logarithmic least squares method (LLSM) to obtain triangular fuzzy weights from a triangular fuzzy comparison matrix was suggested. A new method with the use of triangular fuzzy numbers and extent analysis method for the pair wise comparison scale of AHP and the synthetic extent values of the pair wise comparisons was proposed. An algorithm that integrated fuzzy AHP and artificial neural network for determining the location of a store was proposed. Fuzzy prioritization method for tackling the uncertainty and imprecision of the reasoning process while using decision support tools during pre-negotiations was presented. Implementation of Chang’s method (1996) to measure the customer satisfaction in Turkish catering firms. Fuzzy AHP methodology used to model multiple criteria analysis of shipping registry selection. A fuzzy decision-making approach for prioritizing organization and production system inputs known as the effective 7Ms to improve production systems performance was presented. A fuzzy AHP goal programming approach for integrated production-planning problem was proposed. An approach based on fuzzy AHP and balanced scorecard (BSC) for evaluating a Chinese TPL enterprise was constructed.

Van Laarhoven and Pedrycz




Kuo et al.




Decision making involves setting priorities and the AHP is the methodology for doing that. Decision making problem is one of most common problems in almost every field. AHP approach is an effective and popular way to deal with this problem. It deals with crisp (real) values of evaluation judgments. But human reasoning is imprecise, uncertain and fuzzy and the real world is highly ambiguous. Hence, AHP is ineffective when applied to resolve the inherent uncertainty and imprecision associated with the mapping of a decision maker’s perception to exact numbers. Thus fuzzy theory has been combined with AHP to analyze ambiguous real world problems. This paper works on the differences between classical AHP and fuzzy AHP approaches, with the purpose of determining the importance of fuzzy AHP over traditional AHP. Kahraman et al. 2004

Metin et al.


Rostamzade h and Sofian




[1] C. Kahraman, U. Cebeci, D. Ruan (2004).Multi-attribute comparison of catering service companies using fuzzy AHP: the case of Turkey. Int. J. Prod. Econ., 87(2):171-184. C. Metin, Er ID, AF Ozok (2009). Application of fuzzy extended AHP methodology on shipping registry selection: The case of Turkish maritime industry. Expert Syst. Appl., 36(1):190-198. D. Y. Chang, (1996), “Applications of the Extent Analysis Method on Fuzzy AHP,” European Journal of Operational Research, 95, 649-655.


Lin Wang et al.





[4] [5]


[7] [8]


[10] [11]



[14] [15]



E. W. T. Ngai (2003). Selection of web sits for online advertising using the AHP. Information and Management, 46, 669–678. H Jung (2011). A fuzzy AHP-GP approach for integrated productionplanning considering manufacturing partners. Expert Syst. Appl., 38(5): 5833-5840. L. Mikhailov,(2003) A fuzzy approach to deriving priorities from interval pairwise comparison judgments. European Journal of Operational Research. v159. 687-704. L. Zadeh (1965). Fuzzy sets. Information Control, 8, 338–353 L. Zhu, A. Aurum, I. Gorton, & R. (2005). Tradeoff and sensitivity analysis in software architecture evaluation using analytic hierarchy process. Software Quality Journal, 13(4), 357–375. Lin Wang, Hao Zhang and Yu-Rong Zeng (2012), Fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP) and balanced scorecard approach for evaluating performance of Third-Party Logistics (TPL) enterprises in Chinese context, African Journal of Business Management Vol.6(2), pp. 521-529,18 January, 2012 P. Van Laarhoven, & W. Pedrycz (1983). A fuzzy extension of Saaty's priority theory, Fuzzy Sets and Systems, 11, 199-227 R. Rostamzadeh, S. Sofian (2011). Prioritizing effective 7Ms to improve production systems performance using fuzzy AHP and fuzzy TOPSIS (case study). Expert Syst. Appl., 38(5):51665177. RJ Kuo, SC Chi, SS Kao (2002).A decision support system for selecting convenience store location through integration of fuzzy AHP and artificial neural network. Comput. Ind., 47(2):199-214. S. S. Kima, I. O. Yang, M. S. Yeo, & K. W. Kim (2005). Development of a housing performance evaluation model for multifamily residential buildings in Korea. Building and Environment, 40, 1103–1116. T. L. Saaty (1980). The analytic hierarchy process. New York: McGraw Hill T. L. Saaty (2001). Decision Making with Dependence and Feedback: The Analytic Network Process (Second ed.), RWS Publications, Pittsburgh, USA W. Ossadnik, & O. Lange (1999). AHP-based evaluation of AHP-Software. European Journal of Operational Research, 118(2), 578–588. Y.K. Cheng, (2000), “Development of a Fuzzy Multi-Criteria Decision Support System for Municipal Solid Waste Management”, Regina, Saskatchewan.

Amit Mishra is pursuing M. Tech (CSE) from Amity University Uttar Pradesh NOIDA, India. His interest area is Soft Computing and Software Engineering. Sanjay Kumar Dubey is Assistant Professor and Proctor in Amity University University Uttar Pradesh NOIDA, India. He has more than 12 years of teaching experience in reputed engineering colleges and universities. He has published more than seventies research papers in national and international journals. He is member of IET and ACM. His interest area is Soft Computing and Usability Engineering.