We have referred frequently throughout the various chapters of this book to the acquisition, processing and interpretation of data to evaluate and quantify the microstructure of materials. Figure 7.1 shows schematically the various ways computers can be interfaced with an instrument that is used to evaluate microstructure. We do not propose to provide either a comprehensive review of computer systems or how data are acquired, processed and quantified, but rather the purpose is to give a simple overview of the underlying philosophy adopted for microstructural investigation techniques. This can be addressed by considering the major areas where computers are applied: (i) instrument control, (ii) instruction, (iii) data acquisition and storage, (iv) data processing and image analysis, (v) image quantification, (vi) databases, (vii) Expert systems and (viii) simulation. Since it is extremely difficult to provide a comprehensive coverage of these selected topics, each will be addressed by reference to specific examples which we hope will make the reader aware of the potential to be attained and associated cautions that need to be recognised. A schematic arrangement demonstrating the various ways in which computers are interfaced with an instrument and used to evaluate the microstructure of materials. https://s3-euw1-ap-pe-df-pch-content-public-u.s3.eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/9781315382012/9b6b701f-93fb-453d-b3b6-97b28e35942c/content/fig7_1.tif"/>