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A set of codes and formats to be used by devices connected via the IEEE 488.1 bus is specified. This standard also defines communication protocols that are necessary to effect application-independent and device-dependent message exchanges, and further defines common commands and characteristics useful in instrument system applications. It is intended to apply to small-scale to medium-scale instrument systems comprised mainly of measurement, stimulus, and interconnected device outside the scope of the instrument system environment. IEEE 488.1 subsets, standard message-handling protocols including error handing, unambiguous program and response-message syntactics structures, common commands useful in a wide range of instrument system applications, standard status reporting structures, and system configuration and synchronization protocols are covered.