Intelligent Decision Support: Handbook of Applications and Advances of the Rough Sets Theory

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Intelligent decision support is based on human knowledge related to a specific part of a real or abstract world. When the knowledge is gained by experience, it is induced from empirical data. The data structure, called an information system, is a record of objects described by a set of attributes. Knowledge is understood here as an ability to classify objects. Objects being in the same class are indiscernible by means of attributes and form elementary building blocks (granules, atoms). In particular, the granularity of knowledge causes that some notions cannot be expressed precisely within available knowledge and can be defined only vaguely. In the rough sets theory created by Z. Pawlak each imprecise concept is replaced by a pair of precise concepts called its lower and upper approximation. These approximations are fundamental tools and reasoning about knowledge. The rough sets philosophy turned out to be a very effective, new tool with many successful real-life applications to its credit. It is worthwhile stressing that no auxiliary assumptions are needed about data, like probability or membership function values, which is its great advantage. The present book reveals a wide spectrum of applications of the rough set concept, giving the reader the flavor of, and insight into, the methodology of the newly developed disciplines. Although the book emphasizes applications, comparison with other related methods and further developments receive due attention.