Recent technological developments which have improved the monitoring and control of the anaesthetized patient have been crucial in improving the care of critically ill patients. The complexity of anaesthesia work stations, the uninformative way that data is presented, and the incoherency of alarm systems impedes rational utilization of the advanced technology. Traditional limit alarm systems, which frequently produce false alarms, can be substituted by developing reliable and informative smart alarm systems. Several research groups are developing knowledge-based alarms and informative data presentation systems. Their results suggest that numerous technical means can be applied for this purpose and the incidence of false alarms can be significantly reduced. Informative data presentation and knowledge-based alarms can now be integrated into the present anaesthesia work stations and should become standard features within a few years.