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Research results obtained with the PLATO computer-based education systems, developed at the University of Illinois, indicate that computer technology can be effectively applied to some of the problems of our present educational system. The research results and system designs reported are based upon studies in computer-based education which have included over 150 000 student contact hours of credited instruction in a variety of subjects and educational levels. The discussions concerning computer-based instruction are divided into two major areas: first, the science of computer-based education and second, the engineering of computer-based education. Also included are a description of some new hardware developments which are necessary to the realization of an economically viable system, and a discussion of the economic and educational considerations which should influence the design of any computer-based education system.