Computer Science: Relationships in Database Systems - Database Essay Example

Introduction

            Like relationships in the real world, modern technology utilizes the structure of relationships as the infrastructure for data transmission.  Relationships in computer science are nearly exactly the same as actual relationships, associations between entities.  It is important to note that relationships are always bidirectional, and there is a necessary information flow between entities, even in more hierarchal models.  A relationship model demonstrates the entities involved, the attributes of the entities, and the relationships between entities within a database system (Coronel & Rob, 2007).  The three basic kinds of relationship models are the one-to-many relationship, the many-to-many relationship, and the one-to-one relationship.  In describing the ways relationships function in modern technology, it is important to fully understand the conceptual ideas surrounding the relational model in regard to computer science.

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Relationship Model

            The relationship model is generally widely supported as a common standard for database system modeling and was introduced by Chen in 1976.  This modeling technique includes a graphical representation of entities and their relationships in a database structure.  An entity relationship diagram (ERD) is the use of graphic representations to model database components, and each entity is mapped to a relational table.  In the ERD, entities are described as being either an occurrence or a set, in other words, one unique entity or many similar entities.  The connectivity between entities is what labels the different types of relationships.  In creating an ERD, one of the best kinds of notation is the Crow’s foot notation, a widely accepted design standard.  In order to have a full understanding of how the relationship model works in regard to varying entities, attributes, and connectivity, it is necessary to explore the three basic types of relationships.

One to Many

            The one-to-many (1:M) relationship is characterized by connectivity between one entity and a set of many similar entities.  The attributes of the single entity are such that is has connectivity to a set of entities, and, vice versa, the set of entities has connectivity to the single entity.  A good example of the one-to-many relationship is the relationship between a store manager and employees.  There is one store manager who meets with several employees.  The relationship extends from the manager to the employees and from the employees back to the manager.  The manager is the single unique entity which has the attribute of managing the set of many similar entities which are the employees, and the employees are the set of many similar entities which has the attribute of participating in being managed by the single unique entity which is the manager.

Many to Many

The many-to-many (M:M) relationship is characterized by connectivity between a set of many similar entities and another set of many similar entities.  The attributes of the first set of entities are such that is has connectivity to a second set of entities, and, vice versa, the second set of entities has connectivity to the first set of entities.  A good example of the many-to-many relationship is the relationship between store managers from California and store managers from Texas.  There are many store managers from California who meet with many store managers from Texas.  The relationship extends from the store managers from California to the store managers from Texas and from the store managers from Texas to the store managers from California.  The store managers from California is a set of many similar entities which has the attribute of sharing information with the set of many similar entities which are the store managers from Texas, and the store managers from Texas is a set of many similar entities which has the attribute of sharing information with the set of many similar entities which are the store managers from California.

One to One

The one-to-one (1:1) relationship is characterized by connectivity between one unique entity and another unique entity.  The attributes of the first entity is such that is has connectivity to a second entity, and, vice versa, the second entities has connectivity to the first entity.  A good example of the one-to-one relationship is the relationship between one store owner and another store owner.  There is one store owner from San Francisco who meets with another store owner from Los Angeles.  The relationship extends from the store owner from San Francisco to the store owner from Los Angeles and from the store owner from Los Angeles to the store owner from San Francisco.  The store owner from San Francisco is a unique entity which has the attribute of considering a merger with the single unique entity which is the store owner from Los Angeles, and the store owner from Los Angeles is a single unique entity which has the attribute of considering a merger with the single unique entity which is the store owner from San Francisco.

Conclusion

            In developing modern technology in data information processing, it is essential to have a good overview about the ways in which relationships work in the real world and are translated into database systems in the virtual world of computer science.  By having models which label, classify, and describe relationships between entities, one is able to correctly manage the data which necessarily flows between interested parties.  Theoretical models about relationships and graphical diagrams are what enable computer science professionals to develop technology which is able to correctly store and share vital information.  As a technological database system in business, relationship models and diagrams have a way of illustrating the dynamics between entities, the flow between entities, and the need for balance and restructuring as necessary.

References

Coronel, C. & Rob, P.  (2007).  Database Systems: Design, Implementation, and Management.  Cengage Learning.

 

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