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Communication-based design represents a formal approach to system-on-a-chip design that considers communication between components as important as the computations they perform. Our "network-on-chip" approach partitions the communication into layers to maximize reuse and provide a programmer with an abstraction of the underlying communication framework. This layered approach is cast in the structure advocated by the OSI Reference Model and is demonstrated with a reconfigurable DSP example. The Metropolis methodology of deriving layers through a sequence of adaptation steps between incompatible behaviors is illustrated through the Intercom design example. In another approach, MESCAL provides a designer with tools for a correct-by-construction protocol stack.