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In this paper, we analyze the impact of network contention on the application mapping for tile-based network-on-chip (NoC) architectures. Our main theoretical contribution consists of an integer linear programming (ILP) formulation of the contention-aware application mapping problem which aims at minimizing the inter-tile network contention. To solve the scalability problem caused by ILP formulation, we propose a linear programming (LP) approach followed by an mapping heuristic. Taken together, they provide near-optimal solutions while reducing the runtime significantly. Experimental results show that, compared to other existing mapping approaches based on communication energy minimization, our contention-aware mapping technique achieves a significant decrease in packet latency (and implicitly, a throughput increase) with a negligible communication energy overhead.