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An approach of representing patterns by trees rather than by strings is described. A review of tree systems that include tree grammars, transformations, and mappings on trees and tree automata is briefly presented. The tree system is then applied to the problem of syntactic pattern recognition. Tree grammars are used for pattern description, and tree automata are used for classification. Illustrative examples include the application of the tree system to the classification of bubble chamber events and some English characters.