A US government contractor has adapted its fuzzy logic technology to enable users to intelligently query Microsoft's Excel database or other ODBC compliant offerings in an attempt to appeal to the mass market.
Sonalysts claims that its Fuzzy Query for Excel 32bit standalone Windows 95 and NT based application enables customers to create socalled membership functions. These define the semantic relationship between data and the reports that are generated from that data.
For example, if grade point averages (GPA) are variables, and semantic relationships are established to define "good" GPAs, then a fuzzy membership function could be defined as 100 per cent at 4.0 and 0 per cent at 3.0.
Tony Cowden, manager of Sonalysts, Fuzzy Systems Solutions business unit, said: "We believe that the use of fuzzy sets in database queries and data analysis will eventually be commonplace, and we intend to be there when that vision is realised.
He added: "We see that there is a significant gap in the data analysis tools market from traditional SQL based tools on one end of the spectrum to knowledge discovery and data mining tools on the other. Fuzzy Query is a true data analysis tool that effectively bridges that gap."
Fuzzy Query enables users to identify the records that correlate most closely semantically to their query. While SQL based queries act as filters, simply returning records that correspond to the requirements laid down by the filter, Fuzzy Query returns records indicating to what degree they match the requirements.
"This measure alone provides deeper insight into the contents of the data store. There is virtually no limit to the ways that Fuzzy Query will help users look for unusual patterns, discover new prospects, measure the impact of decisions, analyse trends and find emerging features and behaviours," Cowden claimed.
Users are provided with a standard set of predefined fuzzy set shapes, including various step functions. To create more complex fuzzy membership functions and alter predefined ones, they are also given an Edit Fuzzy Set dialog box.
An edit option is also included so customers can define their own fuzzy membership functions from scratch to accurately represent the semantic meaning of concepts.
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