Part of the Programming glossary:

Fuzzy logic is an approach to computing based on "degrees of truth" rather than the usual "true or false" (1 or 0) Boolean logic on which the modern computer is based. The idea of fuzzy logic was first advanced by Dr. Lotfi Zadeh of the University of California at Berkeley in the 1960s. Dr. Zadeh was working on the problem of computer understanding of natural language. Natural language (like most other activities in life and indeed the universe) is not easily translated into the absolute terms of 0 and 1. (Whether everything is ultimately describable in binary terms is a philosophical question worth pursuing, but in practice much data we might want to feed a computer is in some state in between and so, frequently, are the results of computing.)

Fuzzy logic includes 0 and 1 as extreme cases of truth (or "the state of matters" or "fact") but also includes the various states of truth in between so that, for example, the result of a comparison between two things could be not "tall" or "short" but ".38 of tallness."

Fuzzy logic seems closer to the way our brains work. We aggregate data and form a number of partial truths which we aggregate further into higher truths which in turn, when certain thresholds are exceeded, cause certain further results such as motor reaction. A similar kind of process is used in artificial computer neural network and expert systems..

It may help to see fuzzy logic as the way reasoning really works and binary or Boolean logic is simply a special case of it.

This was last updated in July 2006
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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