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The first application of electronic computers was in the field of business accounting. The computer replaced punched card equipment and performed simple, repetitive clerical tasks. The system configurations and the application programs in this area have become quite standardized and homogeneous from system to system. The minicomputer was first applied in a far more academic atmosphere. From a curiosity in the laboratory, small computers became elements in many weird-and-wonderous systems used to monitor and control tests and experiments. Because it was there and interesting, scientists and engineers put the minicomputer to work in hundreds of different ways. Because it was sold as a basic system module, because it was easy to use and understand, and because it was inexpensive, the minicomputer became part of many different systems. The lack of standardization in input/output configurations and devices witnesses the variety of ways the minicomputer is applied.