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www.elsevier.com/locate/dsw

Liang-Hsuan Chen *, Feng-Chou Tsai

Department of Industrial Management Science, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan, ROC

Received 19 May 1999; accepted 6 July 2000

Abstract

This paper formulates fuzzy goal programming (FGP) incorporating dierent importance and preemptive priorities

by using an additive model to maximize the sum of achievement degrees of all fuzzy goals. In contrast to previous

works, the proposed approach allows the decision-maker to determine a desirable achievement degree for each fuzzy

goal to re¯ect explicitly the relative importance of these goals. This approach can generate a set of achievement degrees

consistent with the decision-maker's expectations, even though the relative importance of the goals may change.

Furthermore, in this paper we incorporate the decision-maker's preemptive priority structure into a single formulation.

The resulting solutions satisfy both the preemptive priority structure and have the maximum achievement degrees in

sum. The proposed approaches' eectiveness and computational superiority over the existing approaches are demon-

strated and compared with examples from the literature. Ó 2001 Published by Elsevier Science B.V.

Keywords: Goal programming; Fuzzy goal programming; Preemptive priority; Relative importance

fuzzy numbers and various types of thresholds

The goal programming (GP) model is useful for [2,3,19,20,34]. For modeling goals with imprecise

decision-makers to consider simultaneously sev- nature, Martel and Aouni [23±25] and Aouni et al.

eral objectives in ®nding a set of acceptable solu- [1] have reformulated the standard GP model [5]

tions. However, determining precisely the goal by introducing the satisfaction degrees as a func-

value of each objective is dicult for decision- tion of the goal deviations in the objective function

makers, since possibly only partial information of the model. The indierence threshold concept is

can be obtained [41]. To incorporate uncertainty used in the satisfaction function for characterizing

and imprecision into the formulation, some ap- the imprecision associated with the goal values.

proaches are used to reformulate the GP models, This approach can allow the decision-maker to

express his preference structure in the formulation

in an explicit way.

*

Corresponding author. Tel.: +886-6-275-7575; fax: +886-6-

In order to specify imprecise aspiration levels of

236-2162. the goals in a fuzzy environment, Narasimhan [28]

E-mail address: lhchen@mail.ncku.edu.tw (L.-H. Chen). had initially proposed fuzzy goal programming

PII: S 0 3 7 7 - 2 2 1 7 ( 0 0 ) 0 0 2 0 1 - 0

L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556 549

(FGP) by using membership functions. This work achievement degree of each fuzzy goal to the

and some related studies [30,33,35] are actually model in an explicit way.

inspired by a fuzzy programming approach intro- Furthermore, decision-makers may have an

duced by Zimmermann [43]. The FGP formulation order in which to achieve the goals, i.e., a pre-

has widespread applications to various ®elds emptive priority structure, so that some goals are

[4,9,10,12,26,27,29,31±33,36,37]. Some researchers expected to be achieved before others in sequence.

[6,13±17,38±40] have provided further investiga- In the literature, the existing approaches categorize

tions of FGP regarding the problem formulation, fuzzy goals into k priority levels, where the number

the relative importance and the fuzzy priority of k is less than the number of the fuzzy goals [6,38,

the fuzzy goals, and associated solution algo- 39]. Then k subproblems are solved in sequence by

rithms. In the FGP formulations, most of the specifying the membership grades to be achieved

previous researchers except Tiwari et al. [39] have for the fuzzy goals that belong to the higher pri-

used the min-operator to ®nd the fuzzy decision ority levels as additional constraints in the sub-

that simultaneously satis®ed fuzzy goals and fuzzy problems for the lower priority levels. Although

constraints. Then the maximizing decision is de- the resulting answers can satisfy the decision-ma-

termined to be the maximum degree of member- ker's preemptive priority structure in the above

ship for the fuzzy decision. The current approach ways, obviously the computational eciency will

considers that the fuzzy decision is the intersection decrease when the number of priority levels in-

of fuzzy goals and constraints, so that there is no creases. The eciency for resolution procedure can

fundamental dierence between them. Although be enhanced if we can incorporate the preemptive

the current approach is ecient in computation, priority structure into a single formulation.

the application of it may produce ``uniform'' This paper will focus on the reformulation of

membership degrees for fuzzy goals when the FGP using an additive model to eciently resolve

achievement of some goals is stringently required. the problem with dierent importance levels and/

We will illustrate this condition in the following or with preemptive priorities. We will reformulate

section, and an additive model is adopted in this the FGP by expressing explicitly the decision-ma-

study to aggregate the fuzzy goals for further in- ker's desirable achievement degree of each fuzzy

vestigation of the FGP. goal and by incorporating the decision-maker's

Consideration of dierent relative importance preemptive priority structure into a single formu-

and priorities of the goals in the FGP problem is lation. In the following section, we compare the

important because some goals are more important resulting solutions of a particular problem that is

than others. Narasimhan [28] has used linguistic formulated by using both the min-operator and an

variables, such as ``very important'' and ``moder- additive model to aggregate the fuzzy goals. Sec-

ately important'', to describe the fuzzy weights of tion 3 describes the FGP problem considering the

the goals, and de®ned the corresponding mem- fuzzy goals with dierent desirable achievement

bership functions by specifying the desirable in- degrees. An FGP problem containing the decision-

tervals of membership degree to re¯ect the maker's preemptive priority structure is presented

importance. However, this approach may produce in Section 4. The eciency in resolving this prob-

a set of unreasonable answers [14]. Hannan [13] lem is shown in this section. Finally, we provide

and Tiwari et al. [39] have used dierent weights conclusions in Section 5.

for the various goals in order to re¯ect the relative

importance of the goals, and considered the

weights as the coecients of the objective function. 2. Related models

This study illustrates that such approaches may

yield counter-intuitive results when the relative Since Narasimhan [28] had presented the initial

importance of the goals is changed. For actually FGP model and the solution procedure, a few

re¯ecting the relative importance of the goals in studies have proposed FGP models for improving

this paper, we add the decision-maker's desirable the computational eciency. Hannan [13,14] has

550 L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556

introduced conventional deviation variables into The linear membership function li for the ith fuzzy

the model, so that only a conventional linear pro- goal based on Zimmermann [43,44] is de®ned as

gramming formulation is required; although, this 8

> 1 if Gi
x P gi ;

increases the number of variables in the formula- < G
x L

i i

tion. Based on piecewise linear approximation li if Li 6 Gi
x 6 gi ;
4a

>

: g i Li

(PLA), Yang et al. [40] have further formulated the 0 if Gi
x 6 Li ;

problem with fewer variables, which can yield the

same solutions as Narasimhan's [28] and Hannan's or

[14]. Yang et al.'s model can be formulated as 8

> 1 if Gi
x 6 gi ;

follows. Let Gk
x denote the kth fuzzy goal with a <U Gi
x

i

triangular membership function li if gi 6 Gi
x 6 Ui ;
4b

>

: Ui gi

8 0 if Gi
x P Ui ;

> 0 if Gk
x P bk dk2 ;

>

>

>

> G k
x b k

>

> 1 if bk 6 Gk
x 6 bk dk2 ; where Li (or Ui ) is the lower (upper) tolerance limit

< dk2 for the ith fuzzy goal Gi
x J gi
Gi
x K gi . The

lk 1 if Gk
x bk ;

>

> simple additive model is formulated as

>

> b k G k
x

>

> 1 if bk dk1 6 Gk
x 6 bk ; Xn

>

: dk1

0 otherwise; Maximize f
l lk

k1

1 Gi
x Li

subject to li for some i;

where bk is the aspiration level of the kth goal, and g i Li

dk1 and dk2 are the maximum allowable negative Ui Gi
x

lj for some j; j 6 i;

and positive deviations from bk , respectively. Then U i gi

the resulting linear programming formulation is Ax 6 b;

Maximize k li ; lj 6 1;

Gk
x bk x; li ; lj P 0; i; j 2 f1; . . . ; ng;

subject to k61 ;

dk2
5

2

bk Gk
x

k61 ; where Ax 6 b are the crisp system constraints in

dk1

vector. Note that problem (5) is to be optimized by

k; x P 0; for all k maximizing the sum of each goal's achievement

The models mentioned above commonly use degree li (and/or lj ). This use of an additive model

the min-operator for aggregating goals to deter- can obtain the maximum sum of goals' achieve-

mine the decision set, and then to maximize the ment degrees. And more importantly, the

set. Instead, Tiwari et al. [39] have presented a achievement degrees of some goals will not de-

simple additive model to formulate an FGP crease because of a particular goal that is dicult

problem. Adopting their notations, a solution set x to achieve. However, the achievement degrees of

is found for the following FGP problem that all goals will be lower if the min-operator is used

contains m fuzzy goals Gi
x: for the same conditions. For illustration, we use an

example, given by Narasimhan [28], formulated as

Gi
x J gi
or Gi
x K gi ; i 1; . . . ; m two problems, both by PLA with the min-operator

subject to
3 as in (2) and by PLA with an additive model, to

Ax 6 b; x P 0; compare the resulting solutions. The example is to

®nd the solutions which best achieve pro®t goals

where Gi
x J
K gi indicates the ith fuzzy goal and sales goals for two kinds of products. The

approximately greater than or equal to (approxi- problem containing the three fuzzy goals can be

mately less than or equal to) the aspiration level gi . formulated as follows [14,28,38,40]:

L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556 551

G1 : 80x1 40x2 630; problem (8) are
l1 ; l2 ; l3 ) (1.0, 0.438, 1.0) and

G2 : x1 6;
6 (x1 ; x2 ) (5.88, 4.0). The solution k 0.64 to

problem (7) actually means (l01 ; l02 ; l03 ) (0.64,

G3 : x2 4;

0.64, 0.64), considering the respective achievement

where x1 and x2 denote the units of products 1 degree of the fuzzy goal. Based on the resulting

and 2, respectively, the symbol represents the solutions of (8), the achievement degree of G2 is

linguistic term ``about'', and the right-hand side small because it is dicult to achieve; however, the

of each goal in (6) means the aspiration level of other two goals are completely achieved. In con-

the goal. In this formulation, G1 indicates the trast, the achievement degrees of G1 and G3 lessen

pro®t goal and the others are sales goods for and are equivalent to G2's degree (0.64) in (7). As

products 1 and 2. The maximum allowable a whole, the sum of achievement degrees in

negative and positive deviations of each goal's problem (8) is greater than in problem (7). This

aspiration level are the same, and are set as 10, advantage makes the additive model appealing,

2, and 2, respectively. As mentioned above, and this model will be applied in the following

Yang et al. [40] have solved this problem using sections.

PLA with the min-operator and had the same

solutions as [14,28]. As an illustration, if the

aspiration level of product 1
G2 is changed 3. The model with dierential achievement degrees

and, for example, increases to 7, i.e., x1 7, the

PLA formulation based on the same deviation In order to re¯ect the relative importance of the

constants is goals, the weighted average of deviations from

aspiration levels is usually used in conventional

Maximize k

goal programming [18,21,42]. Hannan [13,14] has

subject to k 6 8x1 4x2 64; also introduced this approach to formulate the

k 6 8x1 4x2 62; objective function of an FGP with fuzzy priority.

k6 0:5x1 4:5; Tiwari et al. [39] have proposed a weighted addi-

7 tive model that incorporates each goal's weight

k 6 0:5x1 2:5;

into thePobjective function of problem (5), i.e.,

k 6 0:5x2 3; f
l nk1 wk lk , whereP wk denotes the weight of

k 6 0:5x2 1; the kth fuzzy goal, and wk 1. Weights in the

k; x1 ; x2 P 0: weighted additive model reveal the relative im-

portance of the fuzzy goals. However, the model

According to the same problem as (7), the PLA may produce undesirable solutions when the

with the additive model is formulated as weights are changed. As an illustration, Tiwari

et al.'s example [39] containing ®ve fuzzy goals

Maximize l1 l2 l3 with four variables and four system constraints is

subject to l1 6 8x1 4x2 64; used here. The ®ve fuzzy goals in the problem are

l1 6 8x1 4x2 62; described as

l2 6 0:5x1 4:5;

8 4x1 2x2 8x3 x4 K 35;

l2 6 0:5x1 2:5;

l3 6 0:5x2 3; 4x1 7x2 6x3 2x4 J 100;

l3 6 0:5x2 1;

x1 6x2 5x3 10x4 J 120;
9a

li ; xj P 0; i 1; 2; 3; j 1; 2:

5x1 3x2 2x4 J 70;

The solutions to problem (7) are k 0:64,

(x1 ; x2 ) (6.28, 3.28); however, the solutions to 4x1 4x2 4x3 K 40

552 L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556

subject to X

5

Maximize li

i1

7x1 5x2 3x3 2x4 6 98; subject to the membership functions

7x1 x2 6x3 6x4 6 117;
li ; i 1; . . . ; 5 of
9a;

x1 x2 2x3 6x4 6 130;
9b the system constraints
9b;

9x1 x2 6x4 6 105;
10

l1 P 0:8;

xi P 0; i 1; . . . ; 4: l2 P 0:7;

l3 P 0:5;

The tolerance limits and relative weights of l4 P 0:6;

the ®ve fuzzy goals are (55, 40, 70, 30, 10) and

l5 P 0:8:

(0.49, 0.131, 0.153, 0.114, 0.112), respectively.

After formulating the fuzzy goals in (9a) as the

membership functions in problem (5) and con- The above problem can be solved by conven-

sidering the crisp system constraints (9b), the tional linear programming, and the resulting

weighted additive model can be determined. achievement degrees for the ®ve fuzzy goals are

The resulting respective achievement degrees for (0.991, 0.988, 0.621, 0.768, 0.952), respectively, all

the ®ve fuzzy goals are (1.0, 0.977, 0.636, 0.761, of which satisfy the requirements. Then, assume

0.939). Instead, we place more emphasis on the that the ®rst and third goals are to be emphasized,

fourth fuzzy goal, increasing its weight to 0.7, with their desirable achievement degrees increasing

and the respective relative weights are (0.001, to 1.0 and 0.8, respectively, while the others re-

0.05, 0.2, 0.7, 0.049). The resulting achievement main unchanged. Applying this approach, the de-

degrees for the ®ve fuzzy goals will be (0.45, 1.0, termined achievement degrees are (1.0, 0.895, 0.8,

1.0, 0.675, 0.988). Note that the achievement 0.699, 0.844), which still satis®es the objective.

degree of the fourth fuzzy goal lessens, although The determination of a desirable achievement

its weight is signi®cantly increased. In other degree for a goal could be a dicult task for a

words, in this situation we obtain an undesirable decision-maker in a fuzzy environment when using

consequence. this method. For assessing desirable achievement

Instead of the weighted additive model, this degrees imprecisely, a useful method is to use lin-

study allows the decision-maker to determine ex- guistic terms, such as ``important'', ``somewhat

plicitly a desirable achievement degree for each important'', and ``very important'', and so on, to

fuzzy goal as the importance of the fuzzy goal. verbally describe the importance of each fuzzy

That is, the more important the goal, the higher goal. The associated membership functions are

the desirable achievement degree. This approach then de®ned. For example, we can de®ne l~I
a to

can ensure that more important goals can have represent the membership function of ``impor-

higher achievement degrees. To do this, we refor- tant'', where l~I
a 2 0; 1, and a denotes the

mulate Tiwari et al.'s model, shown as (5), by variable taking an achievement degree in the in-

adding a set of desirable achievement degrees as terval of amin ; amax , 0 6 amin 6 amax 6 1. Then some

constraints, i.e., li P ai , where ai is the desirable useful methods [7,8,11,22] for ranking fuzzy

achievement degree for the ith fuzzy goal. For il- numbers can be employed to map a membership

lustration, Tiwari et al.'s example described in (9a) function representing a fuzzy goal's importance to

and (9b) is still used. First the membership func- a real number in the range of 0; 1. The real

tions representing the fuzzy goals are determined number obtained can be considered as the desir-

using (4a) and/or (4b). Suppose the desirable able achievement degree for the fuzzy goal.

achievement degrees for the ®ve fuzzy goals are Thus, the application of desirable achievement

(0.8, 0.7, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8), respectively. The model is degrees to indicate the importance of fuzzy goals

formulated as is easy and ecient, and can produce satisfying

L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556 553

may result in ``no feasible solutions'' when a de- ls 6 1;

cision-maker requires a very high desirable

achievement degree for each fuzzy goal. Under this x; lj P 0; j 1; . . . ; n;

circumstance, a compromise between goals should 11

be made by the decision-maker. where ls pi represents the membership functions

of the goals in the ith priority level and l pr is the

achieved membership value in the rth priority le-

4. The model with preemptive priority

vel, r 1; 2; . . . ; i 1.

This study proposes a formulation to deal with

Decision-makers usually have a preemptive

such a problem; however, only one single problem

priority for achieving goals. That is, some goals

is necessary to be solved, no matter how many

have a higher priority for their achievement than

priority levels are decided. We incorporate the

the others under system constraints. To deal with

preemptive priority structure into this formulation

this problem, Hannan [13] adds achievement de-

to ®nd a set of solutions that not only satisfy the

grees for the fuzzy goals and their deviation vari-

desired structure, but also optimize the sum of

ables to a goal programming to ®nd the solutions

each fuzzy goal's achievement degree. To illustrate

that possibly satisfy the minimum achievement

the formulation, we still use Tiwari et al.'s [39]

degrees in sequence. Tiwari et al. [38,39] subdi-

example from the previous section to provide

vided such a problem into k subproblems, with k

comparable results. The ®ve fuzzy goals are

priority levels being set by a decision-maker. The

ranked into three priority levels:

desirable achievement degrees of the fuzzy goals

Priority level 1: G1 and G3,

belonging to the ®rst priority levels are achieved

Priority level 2: G2,

foremost. Then they are considered as additional

Priority level 3: G4 and G5.

constraints when solving the subproblems that

According to the above preemptive priority

contain the second-priority-level fuzzy goals. The

structure, this implies that the following relation-

k subproblems are resolved in the sequence of

ship exists for the respective achievement degrees

priority level. Although this approach can ®nd the

for the goals:

solutions that satisfy the preemptive priority

structure, k subproblems should be solved if k l1 P l2 ;

priority levels are considered. Chen [6] has modi- l3 P l2 ;

®ed Tiwari et al.'s [38] method to improve the l2 P l4 and

computational eciency for a FGP problem with l2 P l5 :

symmetrically triangular membership functions of

fuzzy goals and preemptive priority structure; Adding the above relationship to the problem,

however, the number of subproblems to be solved the FGP can be formulated as

is also equivalent to that of the priority levels. X5

For illustration, Tiwari et al. [39] have formu- Maximize li

lated the ith subproblem for the FGP with a pre- i1

emptive priority structure using an additive model, subject to the membership functions

referring to the formulations in (3) and (4a), as li ; i 1; . . . ; 5 of 9a;

follows:

X the system constraints 9b; 12

Maximize f l ls pi l1 P l2 ;

s

l3 P l2 ;

Gs x Ls 12a

subject to ls ; l2 P l4 ;

g s Ls

Ax 6 b; l2 P l5 ;

554 L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556

The resulting achievement degrees for the ®ve are strongly required to be fully achieved, two

fuzzy goals are (1.0, 0.864, 0.864, 0.675, 0.807), additional constraints, l1 1:0 and l3 1:0,

respectively. Compared with Tiwari et al.'s solu- should be added to (12). In other words, they have

tions (1.0, 0.795, 1.0, 0.624, 0.727), except for G1, become crisp goals in this situation. Then the re-

the achievement degrees are not exactly the same. sulting achievement degrees are (1.0, 0.795, 1.0,

Instead of a partial achievement in (12), G3 is 0.624, 0.727), which are identical to Tiwari et al.'s

achieved fully in Tiwari et al.'s solution. However, solutions. Therefore, the solutions produced

the resulting achievement degrees from (12) com- by our approach also can be the same as that by

pletely satisfy the desired preemptive priority Tiwari et al.

structure, and the sum of achievement degrees

obtained is greater than Tiwari et al.'s.

Alternatively, the preemptive priority structure 5. Conclusion

can be incorporated into the problem in other

ways. First, the decision-makers can determine a This study has investigated FGP problems with

desirable achievement degree for each fuzzy goal dierent importance levels and preemptive priori-

based on the preemptive priority structure, as de- ties. An additive model is suggested to maximize

scribed in the previous section. Fuzzy goals be- the total achievement degrees of fuzzy goals, be-

longing to the same priority level have an identical cause the achievement degree of each fuzzy goal

desirable minimum achievement degree. For ex- will decrease if a particular goal is dicult to

ample, the desirable minimum achievement de- achieve. Instead of the weighted additive model,

grees for the three priority levels in Tiwari et al.'s this study allows the decision-maker to determine

example could be determined as (0.9, 0.8, 0.65), explicitly a desirable achievement degree for each

respectively. The respective desirable achievement fuzzy goal as the importance of the fuzzy goal.

degree is then added to the formulation as con- This approach can ensure that the more important

straints. The problem is formulated as a fuzzy goal, the higher achievement degree it has,

even though a decision-maker may change the

X

5

relative importance of fuzzy goals. For dealing

Maximize li

i1

with fuzzy ``weight (or importance)'', we suggest

that linguistic terms describing the importance of

subject to the membership functions

the fuzzy goals can be applied and that corre-

li ; i 1; . . . ; 5 of
9a; sponding real values are used as the achievement

the system constraints
9b; degrees after employing some suitable ranking

13

l1 P 0:9; methods for fuzzy numbers.

To simplify the computational eorts for FGP

l3 P 0:9;

with preemptive priority structure, this study for-

l2 P 0:8; mulates the decision-maker's structure into a sin-

l4 P 0:65; gle problem. We have shown the proposed

l5 P 0:65: approach's computational superiority over the

existing approaches. Although the resulting solu-

The achievement degrees for the ®ve fuzzy goals tions are not exactly the same as in previous

in the above problem are (1.0, 0.845, 0.9, 0.662, works, our approach still satis®es the preemptive

0.786), respectively, and all of them meet the re- priority structure and has the advantages of ob-

quirements. Furthermore, decision-makers cannot taining the maximum sum of achievement degrees.

only formulate preemptive priority structure for Furthermore, through the requirement of a mini-

the problem as in (12), but also can require mini- mum desirable achievement degree for the fuzzy

mum achievement degrees for some fuzzy goals goals belonging to a particular priority level, de-

belonging to the same priority level. For example, cision-makers can ®nd the desired achievement

if the ®rst-priority-level fuzzy goals, G1 and G3, degrees for the fuzzy goals.

L.-H. Chen, F.-C. Tsai / European Journal of Operational Research 133 (2001) 548±556 555

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