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Recent interest in characterizing fatigue mechanisms and damage propagation in the field of materials science has led to more closely controlled and sophisticated tests which have resulted in greater amounts of data to be recorded and processed. The application of real-time data acquisition and reduction to deal with these data in conjunction with an ongoing research project dealing with the effect of frequency on the fatigue of composite materials is discussed. Utilizing a Tektronix WP 1100, which consists of a digital processing oscilloscope and a programable calculator connected via an intelligent interface, load, strain, and acoustic emission signals are monitored continuously. The method of operation of this system and the ensuing software is detailed. This type of system is compared with other systems, and its effect on the research project is described.