On the Equivalence Between Entity-Relationship and Functional Data Modeling

C. Mancaş (Romania) and S. Dragomir (New Zealand)


Conceptual data modeling, database design algorithms


The paper formally defines and characterizes entities, re lationships, attributes, structural functions, keys, and con straints in the framework of the Elementary Mathematical Data Model (EMDM), on which MatBase, a prototype KBMS, is based. MatBase algorithm for translating EMDM schemes into Relational Data Model (RDM) ones is then introduced and discussed. Finally, an alternative data modeling solution, only making use of functions, entities, and constraints is provided for any relationship. These two solutions are shown to be equivalent, as they both map to exactly the same relational scheme when using the EMDM to RDM translation algorithm. This proves that, for data modeling, the only fundamentally needed mathematical relations are the binary functional ones, which implies that expressive powers of the Entity Relationship and Functional Data Models are equivalent.

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