Handbook of Research on Fuzzy Information Processing in Databases (2 Volumes)

Handbook of Research on Fuzzy Information Processing in Databases (2 Volumes)

José Galindo (Universidad de Málaga, Spain)
Release Date: May, 2008|Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 899
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-853-6
ISBN13: 9781599048536|ISBN10: 1599048531|EISBN13: 9781599048543
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Description & Coverage

The Handbook of Research on Fuzzy Information Processing in Databases provides comprehensive coverage and definitions of the most important issues, concepts, trends, and technologies in fuzzy topics applied to databases, discussing current investigation into uncertainty and imprecision management by means of fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic in the field of databases and data mining.

Through 34 authoritative contributions by over 75 of the world's leading experts, the Handbook of Research on Fuzzy Information Processing in Databases offers researchers, students, and organizations a complete, practical, guide to fuzzy information processing in databases.


The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Aggregation operations
  • Application of fuzzy databases
  • Bipolar queries in fuzzy information processing
  • Case Based Reasoning (CBR)
  • Dynamic causal mining
  • Extension Principle
  • Flexible database querying
  • Fuzzy comparators
  • Fuzzy Data Mining
  • Fuzzy datatypes
  • Fuzzy dependencies
  • Fuzzy implications
  • Fuzzy information processing in databases
  • Fuzzy knowledge management
  • Fuzzy languages
  • Fuzzy libraries for processing fuzzy information
  • Fuzzy modeling tools
  • Fuzzy object-oriented databases
  • Fuzzy object-relational databases
  • Fuzzy quantifiers
  • Fuzzy queries
  • Fuzzy relational databases
  • Fuzzy technologies for databases
  • Fuzzy time
  • Hierarchical fuzzy sets
  • Implementation of fuzzy databases
  • Linguistic labels
  • Machine learning approach to data cleaning in databases
  • Membership functions
  • Query expansion by taxonomy
  • Relational database querying
  • Representation theorem
  • Shipwreck scatter analysis
  • Spatial uncertainty management
Reviews and Testimonials

This book offers both a breadth and depth of coverage that cannot be found elsewhere. It is an essential resource for students, educators, researchers, and practitioners in the field.

– Olga Pons, Universidad de Granada, Spain

If you are interested about the state of the art and trends on fuzzy database models, fuzzy data handling and applications of fuzzy information processing this book is for you.

– Juan M. Medina-Rodriguez, University of Granada, Spain

This book will be of use to graduate students, researchers, and professionals in many fields.

– Book News Inc. (September 2008)
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Editor Biographies
José Galindo, Ph.D., is professor of computer science in the school of engineering at the University of Málaga, Spain. Dr. Galindo is the author of several books and papers on computer science, databases, information systems and fuzzy logic. He is a member of IDBIS research group and RITOS-2 ibero-american research net. Dr. Galindo received his Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Granada, Spain.
Editorial Review Board
  • Troels Andreasen
  • Isabelle Bloch
  • Patrick Bosc
  • Rita De Caluwe
  • Didier Dubois
  • Abonyi János
  • Janusz Kacprzyk
  • Juan Miguel Medina
  • Witold Pedrycz
  • Olga Pons
  • Henri Prade
  • Guy De Tré
  • Ronald R. Yager
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In order to write this preface, I began to read one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. I read many of the underlined sentences (I always underline good books). Suddenly, the muses visited me and they said me that it would be easier if I quoted some interesting text. One of the most prestigious Italian philosophers, Ludovico Geymonat (1908-1991) said:

“The first step of the human reason is satisfied, in all investigation, showing the existing difficulties in it, not hiding them, even if they are very serious. Only who knows them, not who ignores them, can feel the impulse to search for the indispensable means to dominate them; and this search is the decisive spring for the scientific progress”.

I think that, today, most of research papers are focused in only few possible solutions to a very small and very concrete subject, and even with a very local point of view. Is this useful? I think so, of course. However, it is possible that many researchers are more interested to increase the number of publications than the quality of these works, or if these works can be extended with a wider point of view, studying previous works and showing the most important “existing difficulties”. In this book, the referees and I have spared no effort to reduce these troubles but, I am not sure if we have achieved it. Indeed, in science and research (at least) it is important not to be really sure of anything. The skepticism is important for the scientific progress, and thus it was taught from Pirrón of Elis (365-275 b.C.) to René Descartes (1596-1650), including the doctor Sextus Empiricus (2nd-3rd centuries b.C.) or Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592). Thus, with this humility that must characterize every research, we present this book and we hope that it contributes in a bit to the “scientific progress” and therefore to a better world.

In the context of this handbook, Vila and Delgado defend in the Foreword that the treatment of the imprecise and uncertain information in databases is a very interesting research line. Imprecision has been studied in order to elaborate systems, databases and consequently applications which support this kind of information. Most works which studied the imprecision in information have used possibility, similarity and fuzzy techniques. In this Foreword, the reader can find an interesting overview of each chapter of this volume.

Basically, a fuzzy database is a database with fuzzy characteristics, particularly fuzzy attributes. These may be defined as attributes of a item, row or object in a database, which allow to store fuzzy information (imprecise or uncertain data). There are many forms of adding flexibility in fuzzy databases. The simplest technique is to add a fuzzy membership degree to each record, i.e. an attribute in the range [0,1]. However, there are other kinds of databases allowing fuzzy values to be stored in fuzzy attributes using fuzzy sets (including fuzzy spatial datatypes), possibility distributions or fuzzy degrees associated to some attributes and with different meanings (membership degree, importance degree, fulfillment degree...). Sometimes, the expression “fuzzy databases” is used for classical databases with fuzzy queries or with other fuzzy aspects, such as constraints. The first chapter wants to give a wide historical point of view summarizing the main fuzzy database models, but this scientific field has a very promising future.

The research on fuzzy databases have been developed for about twenty years and concentrated mainly on the following six research lines:

  1. Fuzzy querying in classical databases,
  2. Fuzzy queries on fuzzy databases,
  3. Extending classical data models in order to achieve fuzzy databases (fuzzy relational databases, fuzzy object-oriented databases...),
  4. Fuzzy conceptual modeling tools,
  5. Fuzzy data mining techniques, and
  6. Applications of these advances in real databases.

All of these different issues have been studied in different chapters of this volume, except the fourth item, because, in general there is a few interest in fuzzy conceptual issues and, besides, this subject has been studied in some other works in a very exhaustive manner (see related references on Chapter 1).

The querying with imprecision, contrary to classical querying, allows the users to use fuzzy linguistic labels (also named linguistic terms) and express their preferences to better qualify the data that they wish to get. An example of flexible query, also named in this context fuzzy query, would be "list of the young employees, working in department with big budget". This query contains the fuzzy linguistic labels "young" and "big budget". These labels are words, in natural language, that express or identify a fuzzy set (fixed or context dependent). Summarizing, fuzzy queries are useful to reflect the preferences of the end-user and to rank the solutions.

With regards to fuzzy queries in classical databases, it is very useful because currently there are many classical databases. The second research line includes the first one, but we prefer to separate them, because this second line finds new problems that must be studied, and because it must be framed in a concrete fuzzy database model (third research line). These two first lines are summarized by Zadrozny et al. on their chapter. On the other hand, all the second part (Chapters 4 to 13) studies some concrete problems about the fuzzy querying world (bipolar queries, fuzzy languages, quantified queries…).

About the third item, extending classical data models in order to achieve fuzzy databases, this handbook also includes interesting chapters. They study useful topics, such as how a database administrator may achieve a fuzzy relational database, a new fuzzy relational model with a fuzzy query language with the possibility to specify priorities for fuzzy statements, a good approach of a fuzzy object-relational database model, fuzzy spatial datatypes, and even more.

About the fuzzy Data Mining issues, this handbook includes a complete review chapter by Feil and Abonyi, studying the main fuzzy Data Mining methods. Probably, this is the most promising area, because today there are many databases and these ones may give us many information if we use the proper tools. Perhaps the more interesting and useful tools are the fuzzy clustering and the fuzzy dependencies and both of them are, also, studied in different other chapters of this handbook.

The last research line, applications, is also studied in some chapters. These chapters mix different theoretical issues, like Data Mining, to real context, with different goals. Many chapters end with some example or application about the topic of such a chapter, however, we want to highlight that the third part of this handbook includes some chapters with very interesting applications.

Synthesizing, this handbook includes a very good selection of works by leaders in this field. Each chapter includes a good introduction, shows some of the new advances and the future lines in its corresponding topic, and gives some key term definitions. We can assure that fuzzy databases field will be studied and developed in the next years with the main target of improve current databases. It is easy to see that scientific and technological development, including information science, can assist humankind in making the world a better place to live. Therefore, why is not it achieved in the whole planet?, why is this world so unjust?, why can we not enhance our lives without destroying other forms of life, plants, animals... and our own fellowman? Perhaps, it is useful to reflect on one dissertation by Geymonat when he studies the antiquity, after Aristotle of Estagira (384-322 b.C.). He studies Archimedes of Syracuse (287-212 b.C.) and Herón of Alexandria (about 1st century a.C.), and their fusion between science and technology. Then he wondered why the ancient world did not develop a mechanic civilization. He said that, probably, the reason was in the social structure of the Latin Greek world, which did not feel the necessity of inventing new machines because they had cheap and efficient machines, the slaves. The Latin writer Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27 b.C.) confirms that slavery was then seen like true machine.

The French economist Bertrand De Jouvenel (1903-1987) would say that our modern machines work because we have made “the big mutation”, from soil forces (animals, water, wind...) to subsoil forces (coal, petroleum...). In this way, the invention by the Scotch engineer James Watt (1736-1819), patented in 1769, “provokes a huge difference between leader countries and other civilizations that in the 18th century it had never crossed somebody mind to consider like inferior ones”.

These dissertations invite us to think that perhaps it is impossible to reach a very comfortable society without using slavery or the subsoil forces, two options with a lot of big problems. It is sad but our world is now using both options, specially the rich countries. The modern slavery is located in far and poor countries (many adults and children works in very bad conditions making sport shoes, football balls, ephemeral toys... or even working in the dangerous gold or diamond mining, tobacco plantations, etc.). On July 4, 2007, newspapers wrote that in Brazil more than one thousand slaves were freed on a sugar cane plantation, where they were being forced to work 14-hour days in horrendous conditions cutting cane for ethanol production. Human rights groups and labour organizations believe that between 25,000 and 80,000 people could be working in conditions akin to slavery only in Brazil (on deforestation and on sugar cane, coffee, and cotton plantations). Most of these products (wood…) go to rich countries. The same newspapers published that Brazil, one of the world’s largest producers of the alternative fuel and the number one exporter of ethanol made from sugar cane, plans to double production of the biofuel over the next five years, and more than the 50% will go to the “ecological” Europe. Biofuels may be with difficulty an interesting alternative to subsoil forces, specially in a hungry planet. They may be a renewable energy source (using the appropriate manure, not being transported a long distance, etc.). I am not sure whether Brazilian biofuel is a good environmental option for Europe, but it is not an ethical option if we do not know whether it uses forced labour or abusive work conditions, which are illegal in Europe, or even whether it uses ecological agriculture techniques or not.

Where is the solution? The solution is in our hands, in you and me, in all the citizens of the world. All of we must demand ethic politics and refuse such a very comfortable and consumer society. Possibly, it is a pleasure to drive a car or to eat meat everyday, or to have many shoes, jackets, rings, necklaces... but unfortunately it is not sustainable. I do not know if we will be able to achieve the famous “Sustainable Development” or at least if it is possible, but in any case we must use every endeavor to reach it, although in any case, we must think whether the “development” is more or less important than the “sustainability”, because many times we will have to choose between these two concepts.

Unfortunately, I have not global solutions but I need to believe that solutions exist. Now, I can think in some local proposals like planting trees (in order to preserve soil, water and biodiversity), neither to eat meat everyday nor to buy unnecessary or “fussy” objects (because they need big quantities of energy) and to live with open eyes and mind, looking for situations where we can help to achieve a better World. Our life is not neutral. We contribute to change this World, to worse or to better. Our activity and knowledge have an influence on our little Planet.

Following with Geymonat, he wrote that knowledge is not only the result of the personal ingenuity, but that “it sinks its own roots in the whole collection of the diverse human activities”, and that there are two kind of scientific and philosophic researches. One of them consists of well connected systems (such as those by Aristotle or Euclid). The other one consists of connected fragments. None of them is better than the other, because the best one is that, “which provokes the highest interest to continue researching and the highest trust in the investigation powerful”. Like other philosophers, such as the Spanish Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), Geymonat said that, preserving the past and looking for the new are complementary aspects, and both of them are indispensable at the same level.

This book brings together some connected fragments and they are a well connected system in the particular area of fuzzy databases. I think that it will provoke at least some interest to continue researching and some trust in the investigation powerful. Maybe, the next generation of DBMS (DataBase Management Systems) will include many fuzzy characteristics and users will enjoy with fuzzy interfaces, fuzzy queries, fuzzy dependencies, fuzzy Data Mining... even without knowing anything about t-norms, fuzzy measures, FSQL or a man called Zadeh. In this sense, I think, and I hope, that this book will be at least a bit useful.

This book was a big effort for me, but it was also a big effort for authors, referees and the necessary contribution by the publisher. Each chapter has been reviewed by, between three and five referees, looking for errors and improvements, proposing interesting approaches, references, etc. I will be very satisfied if somebody finds more errors or improvements because it means that this handbook provokes at least some “interest to continue researching”. All of we must undertake in a continuous process of apprenticeship, research, meditation and thinking over everything. If we refuse to do that, then the television, the mass media and the politicians will be very happy because they will do that for us.