Clouds, Fuzzy Sets, and Probability Intervals

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Clouds are a concept for uncertainty mediating between the concept of a fuzzy set and that of a probability distribution. A cloud is to a random variable more or less what an interval is to a number. We discuss the basic theoretical and numerical properties of clouds, and relate them to histograms, cumulative distribution functions, and likelihood ratios.We show how to compute nonlinear transformations of clouds, using global optimization and constraint satisfaction techniques. We also show how to compute rigorous enclosures for the expectation of arbitrary functions of random variables, and for probabilities of arbitrary statements involving random variables, even for problems involving more than a few variables.Finally, we relate clouds to concepts from fuzzy set theory, in particular to the consistent possibility and necessity measures of Jamison and Lodwick.

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