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Two quite different bases for establishing an on-line computer control system for a manufacturing process have been described in the literature. These are the ``exploratory'' or ``teleological'' approach and the ``predictive'' approach employing a mathematical model of the process. Both methods, when applicable to a particular plant installation, lead to considerably improved process control. In an effort to clarify the kind of situation in which predictive control is to be preferred, the major criteria are presented and described in general terms. Emphasis is placed on the requirements of plants in the chemical, petrochemical, petroleum and similar industries. The elements of a predictive control system for a chemical-type plant are outlined.