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Diagnostic instruments at the Mirror Fusion Test Facility (MFTF‐B) are operated by a distributed computer system which provides an integrated control, data acquisition, and data processing interface to the experimentalist. Instrument control settings, operator inputs, and lists of data to be acquired are combined with data acquired by instrument data recorders to be used downstream by data processing codes; data processing programs are automatically informed of operator control and setpoint actions without operator intervention. The MFTF‐B distributed computing environment permits us to take advantage of several kinds of computing equipment and commercial software. The combined diagnostic control and results presentation interface is presented to experimentalist users by a network of high‐resolution graphics workstations. Control coordination, data processing, and data base management are handled by a shared‐memory network of 32‐bit super minicomputers. Direct instrument control, data acquisition, data packaging, and instrument status monitoring are performed by a network of dedicated local control microcomputers. A description of this system and our experiences in implementing the first MFTF‐B diagnostic instrument, the magnetic field alignment diagnostic (MFA), are reported here.