Interleaving Slow- and Rapid-data-rate Experiments with a Time-sharing Laboratory Automation System
by P. M. Grant
A technique is described for accommodating rapid-transfer-rate experiments within an IBM 1800 Time Share Executive (TSX) laboratory automation monitor designed primarily for slow-scanning, low-drift apparatuses, each having the computer control its independent variable. The slow-scan experiments may be delayed for substantial periods to allow break-in by, and dedication of the computer to, those tasks requiring acquisition of short bursts of high-speed data. The system is structured so that each user can implicitly and dynamically specify the current maximum time interval for which his experiment may be interrupted.
The break-in on a slow-scan experiment is done on a demand-response basis through the use of interrupt coreloads and masking of all other interrupts that are likely to interfere with a particular high-speed scan that has been initiated. When data acquisition is completed, control is returned to the time-sharing system by unmasking the interrupts and an appropriate data analysis task is queued for later execution.