A great way to sharpen our analysis and modeling skills is to continuously address real-world scenarios. A modeling scenario along with suggested solutions appears each month in this Design Challenge column. The scenario is emailed to more than 1,000 modelers up to the challenge. Many of the responses, including my own, are then consolidated into this column. If you would like to become a Design Challenger and have the opportunity to submit modeling solutions, please add your email address at www.stevehoberman.com/designchallenge.htm. If you have a challenge you would like our group to tackle, please email me a description of the scenario at me@stevehoberman.com.

Abstraction, aggregation and summarization are each modeling techniques used to improve the stability and performance of the overlaying application. Abstraction is a logical data modeling technique that increases application stability by accommodating unknown data requirements, and both aggregation and summarization are physical data modeling techniques whose primary purpose is to reduce data retrieval time. These terms can be confusing because abstraction and aggregation can lead to the same data structure, and often aggregation and summarization are incorrectly used as synonyms.

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