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PROBLEMS

Ahmed Farouk Abdul Moneim

Department of Industrial and Management Engineering, Arab Academy of Science and Technology and Maritime

Transport, Aby Qeer,

Alexandria, Egypt

mail@ahmedfarouk.net

basis of multiple criteria.

A new method is presented to derive a priority 2) Capture and assessment of possible

vector W =( w1, w2, ….wN )T defining the ranking of inconsistencies in comparison judgments of

n competing alternatives or criteria from fuzzy more than two factors or alternatives for the

pairwise comparison judgments matrices. The purpose of discarding heavily inconsistent

pairwise comparisons are accepted as linguistic judgments.

evaluations expressing the relative importance of 3) The uncertainty, imprecision and vagueness

pairs of alternatives (i,j). These linguistic of human comparison judgments.

evaluations are quantified in the form of

trapezoidal fuzzy numbers expressed as quadruples Over the last thirty years, numerous valuable

(aij, bij, cij, dij ) in order to model the vagueness and contributions to the study and analysis of these

imprecision in linguistic evaluations. The problem problems were elaborated. These endeavors started

of finding components of priority vector W, given with the development of Analytical Hierarchy

n(n - 1)/2 quadruples (aij, bij, cij, dij ) is formulated Process (AHP) by T.L. Saaty (1977) as a

in the form of an optimization model with a newly mathematical model built to derive priority vectors

proposed objective function. The problem is solved which arrange competing alternatives, factors and/or

by means of a genetic algorithm. The complications criteria from pairwise comparison judgments. The

and inappropriateness in measuring inconsistencies process of deriving an analytical hierarchy starts,

of fuzzy pairwise comparisons, as presented in usually, with forming a pairwise comparison matrix

existing literatures, are treated and resolved in the with elements aij ( i < j ) carrying values of relative

present work by introducing ratios of inconsistency importance of alternative (factor, criterion) i as

index to index of inconsistency of random fuzzy compared to alternative (factor, criterion) j. Since

pairwise comparisons. The proposed method is elements aji = 1 /aij , number of elements necessary

illustrated by numerical examples and compared to and sufficient to form a pairwise comparison matrix

some of the existing methods in literatures. of size n is n(n-1) / 2 . AHP uses a 9 point scale of

importance in finding aij. After building a reciprocal

KEYWORDS matrix, AHP proceeds further to show that priority

Priority Vector, Trapezoidal fuzzy numbers, Genetic vector W= ( w1 , w2, …….. wn )T is the principal Eigen

Algorithm, Random fuzzy pairwise comparisons, vector of the reciprocal matrix. The corresponding

Inconsistency ratios. Eigen value is shown to be equal to n in case of

perfectly consistent pairwise comparison judgments.

1. INTRODUCTION For nearly consistent and inconsistent judgments,

Eigen values are larger than n. Other methods of

Selecting the optimum alternative in multi-criteria deriving priorities are considered in several

decision problems is one of the most crucial literatures. Direct Least Square (DLS) method (Chu

challenges facing decision makers in engineering and et al 1979)and Logarithmic Least Square method

management in different industries and businesses. (Crawford et al 1985) formulated the problem of

These challenges are: deriving priorities in the form of nonlinear programs.

1) The natural limitations of human capability Mikhailov (2003) presented a survey and

to compare or to judge among more than two comparative study of the different methods of

factors or alternatives. It becomes more solution of the problem of deriving priorities from

single-valued or crisp evaluations of pairwise The significant error in this approach is that

comparisons. DLS and LLS methods have the components of a priority vector may have zero values

drawbacks that they have multiple solutions and lack which leads to infinite relative importance. This is in

explicit measures of inconsistency of pairwise a complete contradiction with assumed finite scale of

comparison judgments similar to that clearly adopted relative importance upon which the problem is

in the AHP. The possibility of having inconsistent formulated and solved. This error is clearly noticed

judgments is a pivotal issue calling for serious in the work of Y.C. Erensal et al (2006) in which

concerns since the validity and credibility of some of priority vectors have components with zero

prioritization is, to a great extent, dependant on values. Chang approach in no way permits

consistency of decision maker’s judgments. evaluations of inconsistencies of pairwise judgments,

that is why in Erensal et al (2006), in spite of the

Decision makers, usually, express their relative

obvious inconsistency of pairwise judgment, as will

evaluations linguistically rather than in exact

be shown later in section 4 of the present work, the

numbers given by the 9 point scale in the standard

work did not detect this high inconsistency and

AHP. Linguistic evaluations such as: extremely

proceeded to find a hierarchy and reached to a

important, moderately important and more or less of

conclusion which is naturally questionable.

the same importance, are characterized by inherent

uncertainty, imprecision and vagueness. T. L. Saaty To overcome such complications, Mikhailov

and L. Vargas (1984), treated the problem of (2003) proposed two approaches: 1) Fuzzy

uncertainty and its effect on the stability of rank Preference Programming (FPP) and 2) Modified

order of competing alternatives. They considered the Fuzzy Preference Programming (MFPP). In the first

pairwise comparison estimations and the resulting approach (FPP), the defuzzification technique known

priorities as random variables with given probability as α – cuts is used. Crisp priorities rather than fuzzy

distributions. However, these quantities are priorities are derived from interval judgments

extremely subjective, differ from person to person corresponding to different α – cut levels. Priorities of

and therefore, they cannot be considered random and the same alternative (factor or criterion) at different α

treated statistically by collecting data and deriving – cut levels are then aggregated to obtain resultant

probability distributions describing the behavior of priority. In the second approach (MFPP), a nonlinear

their populations. Fuzzy numbers are considered as optimization model has been formulated and thereby

the most appropriate model to express uncertainty, avoiding the need for using α – cuts which requires a

imprecision and vagueness of decision makers great deal of computations. The MFPP model

judgments. First approaches to solving the problem formulates the problem in a nonlinear program given

of fuzzy prioritization are given in Van Laarhoven et as follows:

al (1983), J. Buckley (1985), C. Boender et al (1989)

Maximize λ

and others. These approaches followed similar

procedures as adopted in the standard Eigen Vector Subject to :

method. However, performing multiple arithmetic

operations such as addition, multiplication and (m ij − l ij )λ w j − w i + l ij w j ≤ 0

division on fuzzy numbers result in fuzzy priorities

with wide spreads due to propagation of fuzziness. (u ij − m ij )λ w j + w i − u ij w j ≤ 0

Obtained fuzzy priorities have almost no practical n

meaning and sometimes they are irrational

(Mikhailov 2003). To the category of researches that

∑i =1

w i = 1 ( i = 1, 2 ,.. n − 1 ), ( j = 2 , 3 ,.. n )

tried to follow similar procedures as in standard AHP

belongs the work of D.Y. Chang (1996). Chang i < j

determined crisp priority vector by performing fuzzy Where,

ordering and evaluating the truth value of the λ is a variable accounting for the degree of

assertion that fuzzy number I is greater than fuzzy

membership of a ratios wi / wj ,

number J as follows:

Truth( I > = J ) = sup min (µ I (x), µ J (y) ) lij , mij , u ij are triangular fuzzy numbers

expressing the pairwise comparison judgment

x>=y

between alternative i and alternative j,

where, µ I (x), µ J (y) are membership functions

W = (w1 , w2 ,.....wn ) 2) Solving the reformulated problem by use of

T

is a priority vector,

one of the most powerful search techniques-

n is the number of alternatives (factors or Genetic Algorithms.

criteria) to be ranked. Reformulating the problem enables the writer to

(1) restore back the concept of inconsistency ratio (ICR)

with reference to inconsistencies of random fuzzy

The optimum solution of the above nonlinear

pairwise comparisons. Values of the random index

program is a vector W* , represents the optimum (RI) are computed for different sizes of pairwise

priority vector that leads to a maximum possible judgmental matrices for the possibility of evaluations

degree of membership. As indicated by L. Mikhailov of (ICR).

*

(2003), λ is the degree of satisfaction and is a

natural indicator of the inconsistency of decision 2. PROBLEM STATEMENT AND

*

makers judgments. But however, since λ may accept MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION

negative values as well as positive values it becomes

inappropriate to act as a natural indicator of the Given n(n-1)/2 pair wise comparison judgments

inconsistency and to measure the degree of EVij of the relative importance of n alternatives,

* factors or criteria named afterwards as factors. The

satisfaction. In order to render λ positive for

pairwise comparison judgments are linguistic. It is

inconsistent ratios as well, Mikhailov proposed required , at first, to prioritize these n factors and

to introduce tolerance parameters thus adding to determine priority vector W(w1 ,w2 ,..,wn )T and

the difficulty of the problem. The rationality and then evaluate the relative inconsistency (ICR)of

tangibility of inconsistency ratio (ICR) as adopted by judgments of each decision maker (DM).

T.L. Saaty in the standard AHP disappear when

replaced by the indicator λ. The absence of a 2.1. Modeling of Linguistic Judgments

reference to measure relative to which how severe

inconsistency is in a pairwise comparisons – as the Linguistic evaluations are usually characterized by

inconsistency of random comparisons in the standard their vagueness, imprecision and uncertainty. They

AHP – adds to the inappropriateness of λ. The cannot be expressed by crisp numbers as already

formulation in (1) is a nonlinear program which adopted in standard AHP. Random numbers are also

not the proper model because of the subjectivity of

can be solved numerically by commercial

judgments and the absence of statistical data

software such as “Lingo” with declaration of λ necessary to derive probability distributions

as a free variable, but however this formulation describing the uncertainty. Fuzzy numbers are the

is not amenable to direct application of most appropriate model to quantify linguistic

nontraditional optimization techniques such as judgments. Quantification of linguistic judgments is

Genetic Algorithms since the objective (fitness) necessary for proceeding further with the solution of

function is an implicit function of the decision the stated problem and finding the weights wi of the

variables. Recently, these nontraditional n competing factors. Fuzzy numbers are normal

optimization techniques such as Genetic convex fuzzy sets first introduced by L. Zadeh

Algorithms are widely used because of their (1973). Membership functions are used to express the

simplicity, ease of their implementations, degree of belonging of each element to the fuzzy set.

capability to deal with nonlinearities and their Membership functions of fuzzy numbers may be

proven validity. taken as triangular or trapezoidal. In the present

work, trapezoidal membership functions are

The present work is mainly concerned with the considered since triangular are special cases of the

overcoming of the above mentioned complications trapezoidal. Usually, trapezoidal fuzzy numbers are

and shortcomings in deriving priority vectors from given in the form of quadruples EVij (aij, bij, cij, dij ).

fuzzy pairwise comparison judgments. This, in EVij is evaluating the importance of factor i relative

principle, will be accomplished by: to factor j as judged by a decision maker.

1) Reformulating the problem by proposing an

explicit objective function and using

trapezoidal fuzzy numbers.

G (w1 , w2 ,....wn ) = Min (µ12 , ..., µij ,......, µ(n−1)n )

i< j

1

(i = 1,2,…, n-1), ( j = 2,3,…n).

where,

wi / wi − aij

µij = δ(w / w ) < b + δb < (w / w ) < c +

aij bij cij dij bij − aij i j ij ij i j ij

Fuzzy number

A scale quantifying linguistic judgments into dij − wi / wi

trapezoidal Fuzzy numbers is given in the following + δ( w / w ) > c

table.

dij − cij i j ij

when i compared with j aij bij cij dij δA are indicator functions given as follows:

Extremely Important 7 8 9 10

Moderately Important 5 6 7 8 δA = 1 when event A occurs

Important 3 4 5 6

Slightly Important

Nearly of Equal Importance

1

1 /2

2

1

3

1

4

3/2

δA = 0 otherwise

(2)

Table 1 Scale translating linguistic judgments into Conditions aij < bij and cij < dij are necessary

fuzzy numbers

to keep fitness function G( w1, w2,…, wn ) finite.

Since EVji = 1 / EVij, the matrix of pairwise

comparisons is sufficiently defined by n(n-1)/2 Triangular memberships could be accepted as a

elements which is the number of the elements in the special case where, bij = cij . In this case,

upper triangle of the matrix for which ( i < j ), (i =

1,2,…, n-1), ( j = 2,3,…n). δb ij < ( wi / w j ) < cij =0 . Fitness function G( w1,

w2,…, wn ) as given in (2) is obviously a nonlinear

2.2. Mathematical Formulation function in decision variables wi (i = 1,2,…. n). The

Decision Variables: wi - weight of importance of mathematical formulation of the stated problem may

factor i (i = 1,2,…. n), ( 0 < wi < 1 ) then be written in the following form:

Our objective is to find values of weights wi such n

that values of their ratios wi / wj will be maximizing

their membership in corresponding fuzzy sets EVij. Subject to ∑i =1

wi = 1

Maximum contributions to the value of the objective

or the fitness function occur when ratios wi / wj lie in (3)

the interval from bij to cij. On the other hand,

contributions diminish as ratios wi / wj get values less

than bij or greater than cij . Negative contributions to

the objective function or fitness function occur as 3. SOLUTION OF THE FORMULATED

ratios wi / wj take values less than aij or greater than PROBLEM BY A GENETIC

dij. Next function G( w1, w2,…, wn ) is proposed, in ALGORITHM

the present work, to represent the behavior of the

T

fitness of a solution W(w1 ,w2, .,wn) to the problem. The optimization problem formulated in (3), could be

effectively and efficiently solved by applying one the

most powerful search techniques- Genetic 1) Build a chromosome, by generating n

Algorithms (GA) originally developed by Holland random numbers uniformly distributed

J.H. (1975) and later refined by Goldberg D.E. between 0 and 1 and normalize these n

(1989) and others. GA outperforms Directed Search random numbers to render them summing to

Techniques because of their capability to explore one. These n normalized random numbers

wider spaces of feasible solutions aiming at a global represent one of the feasible solutions.

optimum solution and thus have higher effectiveness. 2) Substitute for the values of the priorities wi

GA also outperforms methods of Random Search (i = 1,2,….n) in (2) by the values of n

since they exploit obtained good solutions to arrive to normalized random number obtained in step

better solutions and thereby they are more efficient. 1 in order to evaluate the fitness of the

chromosome.

3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 until having an initial

W1 W2 W3 Wn-1 Wn

population of 30 chromosomes (feasible

Figure 2 A chromosome with n genes solutions).

representing a solution to the problem 4) Decide probabilities of crossover Pxover and

mutation Pmut to start reproduction.

GA starts with devising a special coding set of 5) Select two chromosomes from the population

decision variables known as chromosomes as with giving higher chances to those

inspired by theories of evolution and genetics in chromosomes with higher fitness.

biology. Each chromosome represents a solution to 6) Generate y - a continuous random number

the problem by coding all the decision variables. The [0,1] uniformly distributed. If y <= Pxover

chromosome representation, as shown in Figure 2, then the next operation will be crossover

consists of n boxes (genes). Each gene carries a value otherwise it will be copying. In case of

for one of the n decision variables wi . An initial having crossover apply steps 7 and 8

population of 30 to 50 chromosomes are randomly otherwise skip them and go directly to 9

generated. The fitness of each feasible chromosome 7) In case of having crossover operation,

(solution in which the n decision variables sum to uniform crossover is applied since it is found

one) is evaluated by (2). Consecutive generations are more suitable for the problem at hand. In

evolved from the initial population by applying GA uniform crossover, each two corresponding

operators: crossover, mutation and copying. In genes in the two selected in step 5 parent

biological systems, the nature mercilessly selects chromosomes will exchange their values

only the fittest for longer lives and further with 50% probability. Thereby two new

reproduction. In a similar manner, chromosomes are child chromosomes are formed.

selected for crossover and copying in accordance 8) Generate z – a continuous random number

with and proportional to their fitness values.

[0,1] uniformly distributed. If z <= Pmut then

Crossover of two parent chromosomes is operated

perform mutation in the first gene in one of

aiming at having better offspring. Crossover,

the parents otherwise skip and take next

generally is operated with a predetermined

gene. Repeat this step for all genes of the two

probability Pxover raging from 90% to 95%. Copying

child chromosomes. Normalization of the set

is a complementary with crossover event having

of newly obtained gene values after

probability of 5% to 10% and is operated with the

crossover and mutation should be restored

purpose of enriching the population with good

back and then evaluate the fitness of each

solutions. Mutation is a random change of gene

new child. Go to step 10.

values in order to widen the exploration front. This

9) Copying, in the present algorithm, is

operator is necessary to avoid premature convergence

performed simply by replacing the two worst

and falling in a local optimum. However, it is

chromosomes having least fitness by the two

recommended to apply mutation with low probability

selected in step 5 chromosomes.

Pmut from 1% to 10% in order to preserve the

10) By completing the above steps a new

exploitation capability of GA and not becoming just

generation is already obtained Go to step 5

random searches. The Genetic Algorithm, adopted in

for further reproduction

the present work and named as Fuzzy Genetic

11) Repeat until convergence is obtained or

Prioritization (FGP), is described in the following

reaching to a given terminating signal.

steps:

12) The solution is then reached by taking values existing methods adopted for evaluation of

of the genes of the fittest chromosome in the inconsistency in case of fuzzy judgments.

last generation.

It is easy to show that the fitness function G( w1,

The described algorithm is implemented in Visual

w2,…, wn ) in (2) has the upper bound of unity in case

Basic for Application (VBA) under Excel.

of perfectly consistent judgments for which

wi

bij ≤ ≤ c ij . As ratios wi / wj get values less

4. EVALUATING INCONSISTENCY OF wj

FUZZY PAIRWISE COMPARISON than bij or greater than cij , the value of fitness

JUDGMENTS function decreases. This behavior of G( w1, w2,…,

When constructing a judgment matrix for more than wn ) motivated the writer to propose the following

two competing factors or alternatives for the purpose expression to evaluate the inconsistency index ICI as

of their ranking, there is a possibility of being follows:

inconsistent in DM pairwise comparisons. For

example comparing factor A with factor B, it is

found that A is more important than B (A > B). ICI = 1 − G (w 1 , w 2 ,....... w n ) ≥ 0 (4)

Similarly comparing B with C, it is found that (B >

C). To be consistent A should be rather more As in the standard AHP, inconsistency measure

important than C. But for any reason DM may enter a becomes more tangible if the index ICI is related to a

wrong entry ( A < C ), the comparison judgment random index RI. Next, values of RI for different

becomes severely inconsistent. If the entry is correct matrix sizes (n = 3 to 9 ) have been evaluated by

( A > C ) but without appropriate evaluation of the solving the problem formulated in (3) with random

relative importance, inconsistent comparisons are fuzzy judgments.

also obtained but to a lesser degree. Inconsistency The inconsistency ratio is given as:

increases as the number of factors to be compared

and ranked increases. T.L. Saaty proposed a method ICI

ICR = (5)

to evaluate inconsistency in judgments and showed RI

that the judgment is perfectly consistent if the

maximum Eigen value of the reciprocal matrix is 5. EVALUATION OF THE RANDOM

equal to the matrix size. Inconsistency index ICI = INDEX ( RI )

( Max. Eigen value – Matrix size ) / (Matrix size – 1 ). In Fuzzy numbers (aij, bij, cij, dij ). are generated

order to take a decision to discard one of DM randomly. The GA described in section 3 is run for

matrices or not, ICI should be compared with the seven values of n (n= 3, 4,…, 9 ). For each value of n,

value of ICI of a completely random judgment RI. the GA is run 100 times in order to take an average

Saaty evaluated RI for matrices of different sizes. for the fitness function G( w1, w2,…, wn ) . Having

The ratio of ICI of any DM judgment to RI gives the G, ICI can be calculated by (4). In case of randomly

inconsistency ratio ICR. By the value of ICR, it can generated fuzzy pairwise judgment, RI = ICI. Next

decided to discard a DM judgment or not, depending in table 2, results of these computations are given.

on the number of available DMs and the criticality of

the decision making problem. Acceptable values of

ICR may take values ranging from say 0.01 to 0.. n 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Since Saaty’s method is applicable only to case of

DM comparison judgments represented by crisp RI 2.62 4.74 6.18 7.2 7.9 9.62 11.28

(single) values, it cannot be applied directly to the

case of fuzzy representations. As already stated in the Table 2 Random Index RI for different sizes n of

fuzzy pairwise judgment matrix

introduction, one of the main concern of the present

work is to generalize the method of finding ICRs in

the standard AHP to cover cases of fuzzy judgments.

This is decided for the purpose of overcoming

complications and inconveniences aroused in the

6. NUMERICAL EXAMPLES

Present Chang

The first example to be considered is that presented MFPP by

work method

several times by L. Mikhailov and P. Tsvetnov Mikhailov

(FGP) applied by

(2004). The judgment matrix is given as follows: Using

Erensal et

A B C LINGO 8

al (2006)

A 1 (2, 3, 4 ) (1, 2, 3 ) w1 0.0473 0.00 0.0447

B (1/4, 1/3, 1 / 2 ) 1 ( 1/3, 1 / 2, 1 ) w2 0.0282 0.12 0.03188

C ( 1/3, 1 / 2, 1 ) (1, 2, 3 ) 1 w3 0.1223 0.31 0.1224

Table 3 w4 0.2602 0.25 0.2578

The solution obtained by applying (FGP), developed w5 0.542 0.32 0.54314

in the present work, and that obtained by (MFPP), w1 / w2 1.676 0.00 1.402

developed by Mikhailov are presented in the w1 / w3 0.387 0.00 0.366

following table w1 / w4 0.1817 0.00 0.1734

Present work w1 /w5 0.0873 0.00 0.0823

MFPP

(FGP) w2 /w3 0.231 0.387 0.2608

w1 0.53749 0.538 w2 /w4 0.1084 0.48 0.1237

w2 0.17 0.17 w2 /w5 0.052 0.375 0.0587

w3 0.2925 0.292 w3/w4 0.47 1.24 0.474

w1 / w2 3.1616 3.162 w3/w5 0.2256 0.969 0.2251

w1 / w3 1.83758 1.838 w4/w5 0.48 0.7813 0.4746

w2 / w3 0.5812 0.581 G -1.107 -6.8 λ = -1.06

G( w1, w2,…, wn ) 0.83757 λ = 0.838 ICI 2.107 7.8

ICI 0.1624 ICR 0.341 1.262

RI 2.62

Table 6

ICR 0.062

Table 4 standard AHP to be applied to fuzzy pairwise

comparisons. However, Chang derived a crisp

The comparison in tables 4 reveals the coincidence of priority vector by evaluating the truth value of the

the solutions obtained from the two approaches. This, assertion that a fuzzy number I is greater than a fuzzy

evidently proves the validity of the proposed Fuzzy number J as pointed in the introduction. The priority

Genetic Prioritization (FGP) as developed in the vector derived from reciprocal matrix in table 5

present work. The inconsistency ratio ICR, as obtained by Erensal et al (2006) applying Chang’s

proposed in the present work, gives a value of 0.062 method is given in table 6. The same example as

which is fairly low and indicates a tangible measure given in table 5 is solved by the Fuzzy Genetic

of consistency of the pairwise comparison given in Prioritization FGP of the present work and also by

table 3 rather than using λ = 0.838 .The second the Modified Fuzzy Preference Programming MFPP

example is that considered by Erensal et al 2006 and developed by Mikhailov L. (2003). The comparison

solved by the method of D. Chang 1996. As already of the results of the three approaches is given in table

stated in the introduction, method of Chang belongs 6. The comparison reveals the following:

to a category of works that extend the approach of

• The solution of Erensal et al (2006) is not an

Cost Price Quality Flexibility Time optimum solution since better solutions have

Cost 1 1/5,1/3,1 1/7,1/5,1/3 1/5.1/3,1 1/7,1/5,1/3 been obtained by both FGP and MFPP for

Price 1,3,5 1 1/9,1/7,1/5 0.5,1,1.5 1/5,1/3,1

the same reciprocal matrix.

Quality 3,5,7 5,7,9 1 1/7,1/5,1/3 0.5,1,1..5 • The inconsistency ratio ICR as obtained by

Flexibility 1,3,5 0.9,1,1.1 3,5,7 1 1/7,1/5,1/3 the present work for the optimum solution is

3,5,7 1,3,5 0.9,1,1.1 3,5,7 1

0.341. This ratio reveals that pairwise

Time

judgment in table 5 is inconsistent. This

Table 5 result is confirmed by the findings of MFPP

for which λ = - 1.06.

• The coincidence between results of the 8. REFERENCES

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7. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS

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to getting geometric means in case of having Systems 11, pp 229 – 241.

group of decision makers. The computations

of the random indexes RI for matrices of Zadeh L. A. (1973) “The concept of linguistic variable

and application to approximate reasoning” ERL-M 411,

different sizes with random fuzzy entries, as

Berkeley, California

elaborated in the present work, made it

possible to evaluate ICRs

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