Abstract—In 1996, Zadeh proposed the paradigm of computing with words (CWW). A specific architecture for making subjective judgments using CWW was proposed by Mendel in 2001. It is called a Perceptual Computer (Per-C), and because words can mean different things to different people, it uses interval type-2 fuzzy set (IT2 FS) models for all words. The Per-C has three elements: the encoder, which transforms linguistic perceptions into IT2 FSs that activate a CWW engine; the decoder, which maps the output of a CWW engine back into a word; and the CWW engine. Although different kinds of CWW engines are possible, this paper only focuses on CWW engines that are rule-based and the computations that map its input IT2 FSs into its output IT2 FS. Five assumptions are made for a rule-based CWW engine, the most important of which is: The result of combining fired rules must lead to a footprint of uncertainty (FOU) that resembles the three kinds of FOU that have previously been shown to model words (interior, left-shoulder, and right-shoulder FOUs). Requiring this means that the output FOU from a rule-based CWW engine will look similar in shape to an FOU in a codebook (i.e., a vocabulary of words and their respective FOUs) for an application, so that the decoder can therefore sensibly establish the word most similar to the CWW engine output FOU. Because existing approximate reasoning methods do not satisfy this assumption, a new kind of rule-based CWW engine is proposed, one that is called Perceptual Reasoning, and is proved to always satisfy this assumption. Additionally, because all IT2 FSs in the rules as well as those that excite the rules are either an interior, left-shoulder, or right-shoulder FOU, it is possible to carry out the sup-min calculations that are required by the inference engine, and those calculations are also in this paper. The results in this paper let us implement a rule-based CWW engine for the Per-C. Index Terms—Computing with words, footprint of uncertainty, interval type-2 fuzzy sets, perceptual computer, perceptual reasoning (PR), rule-based systems
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