The Approximate Cardinality function, which is composed of the ApproxCardinalityReduce and ApproxCardinalityMap functions, can estimate the cardinality (number of distinct values) in a column or combination of columns, scanning the table only once.
Teradata recommends this function when the column or combination of columns has a large cardinality. When the cardinality is small, Teradata recommends the SQL SELECT DISTINCT command.
The function uses the Flajolet-Martin algorithm. For more information, see Probabilistic Counting Algorithms for Data Base Applications, by Philippe Flajolet and G. Nigel Martin (http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=5215).