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Matisse is a design flow intended for developing embedded systems characterized by tight interaction between control and data-flow behavior, intensive data storage and transfer, dynamic creation of data, and stringent real-time requirements. Matisse bridges the gap from a system specification, using a concurrent object-oriented language, to an optimized embedded single-chip HW/SW implementation. Matisse supports stepwise system-level exploration and refinement, memory architecture exploration, and gradual incorporation of timing constraints before going to traditional tools for HW synthesis, SW compilation, and HW/SW interprocessor communication synthesis. Application of Matisse on telecom protocol processing systems shows significant improvements in area usage and power consumption.