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In this paper, we propose a novel strategy to determine the optimal network processor (NP) topology for the target application tasks. We partition network applications into different stages with the consideration of limited instruction memory of the processing elements (PEs). We develop a theoretical approach to determine an optimal topology of the PEs via multiple pipelines. The idea of multiple pipelining is to exploit the task/packet level parallelism and the pipelines are further optimized to achieve the maximum throughput and resource utilization. Simulation results verify our analytical model and demonstrate the robustness of our approach in different NP configurations.