We describe here a library aimed at automating the solution of partial differential equations using the finite element method. By employing novel techniques for automated code generation, the library combines a high level of expressiveness with efficient computation. Finite element variational forms may be expressed in near mathematical notation, from which low-level code is automatically generated, compiled and seamlessly integrated with efficient implementations of computational meshes and high-performance linear algebra. Easy-to-use object-oriented interfaces to the library are provided in the form of a C++ library and a Python module. This paper discusses the mathematical abstractions and methods used in the design of the library and its implementation. A number of examples are presented to demonstrate the use of the library in application code
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