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The use of computers to control experiments, acquire and analyze data, and maintain permanent test records has advanced significantly in recent years. This paper outlines two methods which have been used in automating materials testing. One consists of a stand-alone machine controlling testing or processing, another consists of a network of microcomputers each of which controls one or more experiments and is connected to a larger central processor. The latter approach is shown to be particularly attractive when more than a few experiments are automated.
Regardless of the configuration, automation is facilitated by: standardized hardware and interfaces, high-level programming languages, modularized software, and the presence of good tools for building programs, maintaining data archives, and analyzing or plotting results.
computer automation, computer control of experiments, computers, automation, data acquisition
Member of technical staff, Bell Laboratories, Holmdel, N. J.
Associate member of technical staff, Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N. J.
Graduate student, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.