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Axioms of ORM

Last post Mon, Jul 21 2008 14:08 by Terry Halpin. 1 replies.
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  • Mon, Jul 21 2008 1:00

    Axioms of ORM

    Hi all,

    A question that swills around in my mind, and has done so for the last couple of months, is why we speak little about the 'axioms of ORM'.
    For example (and not 'issue'), the Big Brown Book (Dr Halpin and Dr Morgan's latest ORM book "Information Modeling and Relational Databases") has no index reference for 'axiom' or 'axioms of ORM'. A quick internet search of 'axioms of ORM' returns no results of mention (in fact it returns 'no' results that I could find).

    We speak of 'Axiomatic Set Theory' and we have a methodology (ORM) based on 'First Order Logic' (FOL) and yet we speak little of 'Axiomatic ORM Theory' or 'Axiomatic Conceptual Modeling'.

    As we have 'Well formed theorems of FOL', why isn't it that we say 'Well formed theorems of ORM'?

    Indeed, we speak of 'models' and 'diagrams', but their interpretation in FOL are 'theorems' and yet we rarely say 'theorems of ORM'. I'm not sure that I've heard anyone say "that's a 'well formed' ORM model". I can hear someone saying it...but it might be just 'me' remembering 'me' saying it.

    Why is this?

    I know that for my money, when i hear 'axiomatic' I instantly envisage a rock solid methodology, visions of 'soundness', visions of 'foundations' from which to build solutions based on tried, tested and (ultimately) 'trusted'...axioms. Concepts of 'completeness' and 'consistency' immediately spring to mind (not withstanding the limits of these, and that Halpin/Morgan do speak of 'consistency' within the BBB).

    I'm curious what people think of this. Indeed, there may be a good reason 'why' we would rarely use those terms. If there is, i'd certainly like to hear the reasons.

    And on the contrary and counter side...if there is no particular reason why we wouldn't use these terms, let this be the start and sounding board for healthy promotion/discussion of all the good reasons why it is a good idea to start promoting ORM that way.

    Personally, I feel that it is almost as if there is an undercurrent that says "Oh, the general populous wouldn't understand those terms". I believe they would. I also believe it would be a 'coming out' for ORM and sign of great maturity that the community is resolved to speak of conceptual design in the language of the mathematical basis on which it is derived and designed.

    If you have any thoughts on this, would like promote the concept, or have a good reason why it would not be a good idea, please join in this discussion. I am resolved to say nothing more on the matter. Personally, I'll accept whatever you have to say.

    Best regards


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  • Mon, Jul 21 2008 14:08 In reply to

    Re: Axioms of ORM

    Hi Victor

    When formalized as a logical theory, ORM does include axioms and theorems (e.g. many of these are listed in my PhD thesis). But for communicating ORM to people without formal training, I think it's probably better to use other terms that don't sound so technical. However, I have no objection to use of such technical terms so long as they are used correctly.



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