This chapter discusses the first fundamental structural relation, possibly the most important one: aggregation-participation—the relationship between the whole and its parts. Any interesting system can be described as a whole decomposed into parts. The system as a whole and any one of its parts can then be described separately using natural language adjectives to assign attribute values to objects and adverbs to assign attribute values to processes. Without the ability to mentally take things apart and examine their features, our ability to study systems would be greatly hindered. Aggregation-participation is also known as whole-part (Coad and Yourdon 1991), composition (Kilov and Simmonds 1996), or the part-of relationship (Fowler 1996).
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