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Although multiprocessor systems are becoming a trend today, few synthesis tools currently available can actually automate the design of multiprocessor systems. Performance synthesis methodology (PSM) is an object-oriented system-level synthesis approach to multiprocessor system design. Since PSM was designed specifically for the synthesis of multiprocessor systems, it is not only much more efficient when synthesizing parallel systems, but also produces better parallel systems than currently available uniprocessor system-level synthesis tools. Colored Petri nets used in modeling system components and object modeling technique used in the design process have both contributed to the shortening of system development time and to the reduction of design cost. First, user specification consisting of functional models and performance constraints is translated into architecture models. Then, the system is configured by selecting the method of control, the memory organization, the type of processor, and the type of system interconnection. Finally, a heuristic design space exploration algorithm is used to generate several near-optimal design alternatives. The best architecture is chosen by evaluating the design alternatives using a flexible performance estimation formula that mainly considers system level design features, such as system throughput, utilization, reliability, scalability, fault-tolerance, and cost. Several systems were successfully synthesized using this top-down object-oriented PSM, thus showing its feasibility as a design automation tool for parallel systems.