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IEEE 1641  is a test language, and its key underlying principle is that all its test signals are supported by a mathematical foundation. Traditionally, test languages have been based on the specific instrumentation forming part of the automatic test system (ATS). Many ATSs have their own test language designed and configured for ease of use in the short term. This means that engineers typically use an inhouse test language to get a program operational without having to be concerned about long term maintainability; the program is discarded after a short term production run. This approach does not work with military and avionics test programs where long term support is paramount. The in-service life of many military vehicles and commercial aircraft is longer than the careers of many engineers; it is very rare that the group of engineers who created the original test programs is around when the programs need porting and re-commissioning twenty or thirty years later. In this situation, it is essential to use a standardized test language that can be supported long term. Automatic Test Language for All Systems (ATLAS)  served this purpose reasonably well for many years. However, even with versions controlled by IEEE and ARINC, implementations were often configured to be instrument and ATS specific and this rendered the application test programs (ATPs) difficult to re-host when the old ATSs were decommissioned.