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During long-term electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring of epileptic patients, a seizure warning system would allow patients and observers to take appropriate precautions. It would also allow observers to interact with patients early during the seizure, thus revealing clinically useful information. We designed patient-specific classifiers to detect seizure onsets. After a seizure and some nonseizure data are recorded in a patient, they are used to train a classifier. In subsequent monitoring sessions, EEG patterns have to pass this classifier to determine if a seizure onset occurs. If it does, an alarm is triggered. Extreme care has been taken to ensure a low false-alarm rate, since a high false-alarm rate would render the system ineffective. Features were extracted from the time and frequency domains and a modified nearest-neighbor (NN) classifier was used. The system reached an onset detection rate of 100% with an average delay of 9.35 s after onset. The average false-alarm rate was only 0.02/h. The method was evaluated in 12 patients with a total of 47 seizures. Results indicate that the system is effective and reasonably reliable. Computation load has been kept to a minimum so that real-time processing is possible.