Symmetry Breaking in Software Patterns

  • James O. Coplien
  • Liping Zhao
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2177)


Patterns have a longstanding identity in the scientific community as results of a phenomenon called symmetry breaking. This article proposes a formalism for software patterns through connections from software patterns to symmetry and symmetry breaking. Specifically, we show (1) the ties from Alexander’s work to symmetry and symmetry-breaking foundations; (2) many programming languages provide constructs that support symmetry; (3) software patterns are the results of symmetry breaking, compensating for design shortfalls in programming languages. The proposed pattern formalism may be useful as a foundation for pattern taxonomies, and to differentiate patterns as a design discipline from heuristics, rules, and arbitrary micro-architectures.


Symmetry Breaking Symmetry Group Design Pattern Class Structure Local Symmetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • James O. Coplien
    • 1
  • Liping Zhao
    • 2
  1. 1.Bell LaboratoriesNapervilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of ComputationUMISTManchesterUK

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