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Current industrial automation systems are expected to operate in inherently complex and unpredictable environments that consist of a wide range of resources distributed across large areas. Unfortunately, current industrial automation systems are not always well matched to this environment: these systems are typically implemented using large, and often expensive, computer hardware platforms that support monolithic computer control applications. As a result, when the control system is installed, it can take months before the system operational, and changes are inevitably complex and difficult to implement. Both of these factors contribute significantly to the total cost of the industrial control project.