Soft Computing

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 3061–3075 | Cite as

Implementation of scalable fuzzy relational operations in MapReduce

  • Elham S. KhorasaniEmail author
  • Matthew Cremeens
  • Zhenge Zhao
Methodologies and Application


One of the main restrictions of relational database models is their lack of support for flexible, imprecise and vague information in data representation and querying. The imprecision is pervasive in human language; hence, modeling imprecision is crucial for any system that stores and processes linguistic data. Fuzzy set theory provides an effective solution to model the imprecision inherent in the meaning of words and propositions drawn from natural language (Zadeh, Inf Control 8(3):338–353, doi: 10.1016/S0019-9958(65)90241-X, 1965; IGI Global,, 2013). Several works in the last 20 years have used fuzzy set theory to extend relational database models to permit representation and retrieval of imprecise data. However, to our knowledge, such approaches have not been designed to scale-up to very large datasets. In this paper, the MapReduce framework is used to implement flexible fuzzy queries on a large-scale dataset. We develop MapReduce algorithms to enhance the standard relational operations with fuzzy conditional predicates expressed in natural language.


Relational operations Fuzzy set theory MapReduce Fuzzy queries 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This work does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Illinois at SpringfieldSpringfieldUSA

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