Entity Relationship Diagram

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1 Yufei Tao Department of Computer Science and Engineering Chinese University of Hong Kong

2 A primary goal of database design is to decide what tables to create. Usually, there are two principles: 1 Capture all the information that needs to be captured by the underlying application. 2 Achieve the above with little redundancy. The first principle is enforced with an entity relationship (ER) diagram, while the second with normalization. This lecture focuses on the ER diagram.

3 An ER diagram is a pictorial representation of the information that can be captured by a database. Such a picture serves two purposes: It allows database professionals to describe an overall design concisely yet accurately. (Most of) it can be easily transformed into the relational schema.

4 An ER Diagram pid hkid cid title dept PROF TEACH CLASS year rank salary dept grade TAKE STU sid dept gpa

5 Entity Set An entity is an atomic object that needs to be represented in the database. An entity set is a set of entities with common attributes. For example, a professor is an entity. PROF is an entity set with all the professors. The following shows how to describe in an ER-diagram the entity set PROF with attributes pid, hkid, dept, rank, salary, with pid being the primary key. pid hkid dept PROF rank salary

6 Relationship Set A relationship is an association among several entities that needs to be represented in the database. We will denote the relationship as (e 1, e 2,..., e n ), where e 1,...e n are the entities participating in the relationship. A relationship set is a set R of relationships (e 1,..., e n ), where each e i comes from the same entity set E i, for 1 i n. Example: The following shows a relationship set R between entity sets A and B. A a 1 a 2 a 3 B b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 R = {(a 1, b 1 ), (a 1, b 4 ), (a 2, b 2 ), (a 2, b 4 ), (a 3, b 3 )}.

7 The next few slides will discuss binary relationship sets, i.e., n = 2. For such relationship sets, we can impose two types of constraints. Cardinality constraint: One-to-one. One-to-many (or conversely, many-to-one). many-to-many. Participation constraint: Total. Partial. We will first talk about cardinality constraints.

8 One-to-One A relationship set R between entity sets A and B is one-to-one if every entity in A and B can participate in at most one relationship in R. A a 1 a 2 a 3 B b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 Example: Husbands and wifes.

9 One-to-Many A relationship set R between entity sets A and B is one-to-many if every entity in A can participate in any number of relationships in R, but an entity in B can participate in at most one relationship in R. A a 1 a 2 a 3 B b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 Example: Parents and Children. Many-to-one is defined analogously.

10 Many-to-Many A relationship set R between entity sets A and B is many-to-many if every entity in A and B can participate in any number of relationships in R. A a 1 a 2 a 3 B b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 Example: Students and classes.

11 Cardinality constraint: One-to-one. One-to-many (or conversely, many-to-one). many-to-many. Participation constraint: Total. Partial. Next we talk about participation constraints.

12 Total/Partial Participation Let R be a relationship set between entity sets A and B. The participation of A is total if every entity of A must participate in at least one relationship in R. Otherwise, the participation of A is partial. Likewise, we can define total or participation of B. Example: In the following relationship, the participation of A is total, while that of B is partial. A a 1 a 2 a 3 B b 1 b 2 b 3 b 4 b 5 Patents and professors.

13 Representation a Relationship Set in ER Diagrams Basic representation of a binary relationship set R between entity sets A and B. A R B The line connecting A and R may: Carry an arrow: Meaning one (as in one-to-many). Not carry an arrow: Meaning many. Be a double line: Meaning total participation. Be a single line: Meaning partial participation.

14 Examples: A R B Many-to-many, partial participation on both A R B One-to-one, total (partial) participation on left (right) A R B Many-to-one, total (partial) participation on left (right)

15 Representation a 3-way relationship set: B A R C Example: Professors, students, and projects.

16 We can associate a relationship set with attributes: grade STU R CLASS What is its difference from the design below? grade STU R CLASS

17 Revisit the ER diagram on Slide 4 to understand all of its components.

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