A monitoring and alarm system of general purpose design can be customized for use with many different applications to provide sophisticated alarming and control functions based on logical relationships among several sensed variables. A central processing unit is connected to receive a plurality of inputs from various sensors, the variety and type of which are the choice of the user depending on the specific application to which the monitoring and alarm system is to be connected. The central processing unit is programmed to provide the user with an interactive display to first define the variables in the application and the states and/or limits of the variables. This action defines a logical group. Next, the user enters the alarm/action functions to be performed on the condition that all the conditions in the logical group are true. Once this interactive process has been completed, the central processing unit performs the alarm and control functions specified by the user.