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This is an introduction to the principles of automating today's research laboratory. A foundation of the Labview-based software and hardware tools required to conduct computer-controlled experiments will be presented, demonstrated and then used to acquire, display and analyze data on some typical physical phenomena. Students will be fully involved in designing the control and acquisition software as well as setting up the experimental hardware. Applications of the automated acquisition environment include AC characterization of RC and LRC circuits, the use of thermistors and thermocouples along with acquiring the temperature dependent resistivity of high Tc super conductors.