|Abstract or Summary
- Rapid advances in technology have seen computing move from a
large central computer to desktop microcomputers.
This advance was also
seen in the design of dedicated computers, computers designed to perform a
few specialized tasks or duties.
These computers, or microcontrollers, are
often controlled by a central computer and themselves perform a large
variety of tasks ranging from the monitoring of equipment, to the control
of automated machines.
Since these microcontrollers could be scattered
around in the number of sites, many of them are interconnected by Local
Area Networks (LANs).
One such experimental network of microcontrollers,
Task*Master, was developed at Oregon State University.
system consists of a central personal computer (PC), and a number of
smaller single board computers interconnected on some form of network.
The PC issues commands (called tasks) to the microcontrollers to have them
perform specific jobs.
A number of network configurations have been
developed for the Task*Master system, but none have included a application
program for organizing and scheduling the Task*Master units.
Network Control Program (NCP) provides these needed capabilities.
The NCP program provides high level support for the Task*Master
is designed to be a development enviroment for the creation and
execution of programs to manipulate the Task*Master microcontrollers
To achieve that goal,
it contains access to a text editor, file
lists of the Task*Master units connected to the PC
and the tasks that they can perform, and a program interpreter that executes programs written in
a simple programming language.
program language contains
IF/THEN statements or WHILE loops, as well as arithmetic and logical
operators and functions.
A number of other functions provide access to the
Task*Master network for the transmission of commands, and reception of
The program provides the Task*Master user the
to create a
the Task*Master units
in whatever fashion he
The type of control system does not matter, as the PC can be