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It has been more than 15 years since digital computers were introduced for process control. Digital control systems have evolved from systems such as the IBM 1710 and 1800 to special controllers that use microprocessors. The hardware cost has dropped considerably, yet the cost of installing computer control systems in sensor based applications has remained relatively high. This is partly because of the rising cost of system components other than the digital computer itself, one such component being the system software.
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