Modeling is a useful approach to describe aspects of a system. It is used in many different communities for many different practices. Often it is used as the basis for a simulation, but just as frequently, it is used to describe some information about a system. Models are often developed by experts, and rely on extremely detailed technical information, such as the specifics of how each part of a system can perform and the details about that performance. However, there are many times when the detailed technical information is too much - a model is needed just to explain the basic parts of the system, and how they relate to each other. Such a model is often called a Conceptual Model, because it is intended to describe the concepts behind the system. Conceptual models describe the idea (concept) behind the system – what the system is intended to do, and how it will be accomplished – without letting the technical details get in the way. This chapter will provide an overview of conceptual modeling, and then describe two modeling techniques: entity-relationship diagrams and use case diagrams.
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