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In this paper, a systematic multi-objective fuzzy modeling approach is proposed, which can be regarded as a three-stage modeling procedure. In the first stage, an evolutionary based clustering algorithm is developed to extract an initial fuzzy rule base from the data. Based on this model, a back-propagation algorithm with momentum terms is used to refine the initial fuzzy model. The refined model is then used to seed the initial population of an immune inspired multi-objective optimization algorithm in the third stage to obtain a set of fuzzy models with improved transparency. To tackle the problem of simultaneously optimizing the structure and parameters, a variable length coding scheme is adopted to improve the efficiency of the search. The proposed modeling approach is applied to a real data set from the steel industry. Results show that the proposed approach is capable of eliciting not only accurate but also transparent fuzzy models.