We present a multi-level formation model for complex software systems. The previous works extract the software systems to software networks for further studies, but usually investigate the software networks at the class level. In contrast to these works, our treatment of software systems as multi-level networks is more realistic. In particular, the software networks are organized by three levels of granularity, which represents the modularity and hierarchy in the formation process of real-world software systems. More importantly, simulations based on this model have generated more realistic structural properties of software networks, such as power-law, clustering and modularization. On the basis of this model, how the structure of software systems effects software design principles is then explored, and it could be helpful for understanding software evolution and software engineering practices.
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