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A versatile microcomputer-based controller has been developed at Bell Laboratories for real-time control and interface applications. The hardware architecture is bus-oriented and modularly structured to facilitate system expansion and reconfiguration, as well as maintenance. Furthermore, with a set of properly designed and partitioned modules, the controller is configurable to satisfy a wide variety of application needs without becoming too general and thus too costly to implement. With different configurations, the controller can be used as a stand-alone centralized process controller, a peripheral controller, or a generalized interface linking two processors or processes together.