A programmable interface system, designed for general use in the laboratory, is described. The system is designed to be used as a peripheral on the IEEE‐488 Instrumentation Bus and features an interactive Forth interpreter that allows for considerable flexibility in its applications. The system simplifies both hardware and software problems commonly encountered, in the design of data acquisition and control systems and makes them less dependent on specific features of the controlling computer. The interface system provides simple electrical connections that can be adapted to suit a wide range of instruments, and, through programming, the functionality of an interface system and its associated instruments can be tailored to particular situations. Several interface systems can operate simultaneously on the same bus, in which case a number of data acquisition or control tasks can be executed in parallel, each on a separate interface system CPU. The software implementation of the system is described in detail.

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