At each end of the console are located identical video screens and keyboards. Nearly all engine room systems can be operated by selecting a "mimic" or diagram of a system and inputting the desired condition. Some ships have been retrofitted with advanced computer control systems which utilize standard desktop PC's as an interface. Control functions are selected by using a mouse to higlight the valve or device to be operated.
Computer automation has reduced the number of engine room crew to the point where even on steam ships, which historically have required larger crews than Diesel powered vessels, evening and night watches consist of a solitary engineer. Modern Diesel ships have been automated to such an extent that the engine room is unmanned after 5 p.m. A system of alarms is used to notify the "duty engineer" of malfunctions outside normal working hours.