It is increasingly accepted that future dependable, real-time digital computer control systems will have distributed architectures. Advantages of distributed computer control systems include the possibility of composing large systems out of pre-tested components with minimal integration effort, their well-defined fault containment properties and their capacity to make effective use of mass-produced silicon chips. The IFAC Workshop series on Distributed Computer Control Systems DCCS focuses on design requirements and fundamental principles encountered in such systems and highlights and traces the growth of key concepts at their various stages of development. Theoretical and application-oriented viewpoints receive equal emphasis. These Workshops also provide an excellent forum for the exchange of information on recent technological advances and practices in the distributed computer control field. The 1997 DCCS Workshop was notable for the attention given to practical implementations of ideas that have been under discussion for decades and maintained the high technical standard set by previous Workshops in the series - the policy of concentrating on a specific topic, inviting a number of key authors and of accepting only a limited number of papers paid dividends.