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Mascot is a software design method based on a form of functional and structural design decomposition which is particularly suitable for use in the development of large, distributed, embedded real-time data processing systems. The method provides a design language and graphical notation, together with a procedure for design derivation. This paper describes the main features of the method and the principles on which the methods is based. An example problem and its solution illustrate the application of the method. The solution is extended to show how Mascot provides a straightforward and natural means of coping with multiprocessor target hardware where communication is through shared memory.