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In this paper, we analyze the main issues in context scheduling for multicontext reconfigurable architectures from a formal point of view. We first provide an intuitive approach. which is later supported by a detailed analysis of the mathematical relations that express the reconfiguration process. This enables us to deduce a methodology for the minimization of context loading overhead, which considers the tradeoff between achievable system performance and algorithm efficiency. In this respect, the optimality necessary conditions are established in order to contrive an optimal search. However, as this approach is very time consuming we propose some heuristic techniques that reduce the algorithm complexity and accomplish very good results in relatively short execution time. This work has been developed as a part of an automated design environment for reconfigurable systems. A set of experiments has been developed so as to validate the theoretical results.