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Real-time process control problems in computer testing of automobile engines have led to the development of a low-cost microprocessor-based general-purpose minicomputer peripheral controller at the Chrysler Corporation Technical Computer Center in Detroit. Advantages of the new system over minicomputer-only or microcomputer-only systems include both improved system flexibility and better use of system resources. For example, because of their low cost and programmability, multiple microprocessors can be used to handle commonly encountered process control tasks. This feature is especially valuable in systems requiring frequent modifications because of constant changes in governmental standards or other parameters. Minicomputer-based systems, on the other hand, offer sophisticated executives, batch processing, and large data base capability. Besides combining these features, a central mini distributed microsystem offers the additional advantage of allowing the minicomputer to handle the loose coupling of two or more microcomputer tasks.