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Attention is called to the mix-and-match trend that is taking hold in computer systems design. Rather than relying on one mainframe or minicomputer to do all their computing tasks, more and more industries are blending microcomputers, minicomputers, and mainframes to take advantage of the best features of each. The new demands that are being placed on the energy-management systems (EMSs) of utilities are discussed. It is pointed out that these functions and others require two kinds of computing power: massive number crunching and real-time processing of data from many sources. The integrated systems emerging today, with their combination of computers, provide the required power and flexibility that no single computer can meet. The various factors that must be considered in arriving at the optimum architecture are discussed.