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AbstractBuilding a system at the architectural level can bethought of as decomposition into components followed by aseries of exercises inmatching. Components must be com-posed with each other via matchingmechanisms; matchingsignatures within those mechanisms ensure that data andcontrol will flow through the system; and matchingseman-tics among the components ensures that the system willmeet its behavioral requirements. The standard concepts ofsoftware architecture (components, connectors, styles) havebeen widely used with little more than intuitive understand-ing of their meaning. Mechanism matching is currently anad hocexercise that relies on the peculiarities of program-ming language facilities. This paper presents a set of wellknown but informally described software architectural ele-ments used in system composition, and taxonomizes themunder a basic set of characteristic features. This classifica-tion allows us to describe legal combinations of architectur-al elements by performin...