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Networks-on-chip (NoCs) have been proposed as a viable solution to solving the communication problem in multicore systems. In this new setup, mapping multiple applications on available computational resources leads to interaction and contention at various network resources. Consequently, taking into account the traffic characteristics becomes of crucial importance for performance analysis and optimization of the communication infrastructure, as well as proper resource management. Although queuing-based approaches have been traditionally used for performance analysis purposes, they cannot properly account for many of the traffic characteristics (e.g., non-stationarity, self-similarity) that are crucial for multicore platform design. To overcome these limitations, we propose a statistical physics inspired approach to capture the traffic dynamics in multicore systems. As shown later in this paper, this is of fundamental significance for re-thinking the very basis of multicore systems design; it also opens up new research directions into NoC optimization which require accurate models of time-dependent and space-dependent traffic behavior.