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The research community in the emerging area of software architecture has developed little consensus over the definition of architecture except that architecture is related to the structure of a system and the interaction among its components. Current efforts of building models of architecture have focused on taxonomy, description languages, and verification of architectural properties. What is missing is the focus on the pragmatic role of architecture in software development activities. We describe the state of the practice and the problems faced by architects and engineers. The challenge for the software engineering research community is to address these problems and produce scalable, practical results that will have a real impact on the developers, improving their productivity and the quality of systems they build.