A multichannel system for classifying particles according to one or more characteristics of the particles includes a plurality of flow cytometry units. Each flow cytometry unit is operable to classify particles in a mixture of particles by interrogating a stream of fluid containing particles using a beam of electromagnetic radiation. Each flow cytometry unit has a sensor operable to generate a time-varying output signal indicative of at least one characteristic of the particles in the stream of fluid as the stream of fluid is interrogated by the beam of electromagnetic radiation. The flow cytometry units share an integrated platform and perhaps even a common processor for receiving and processing information from the units. The common processor is programmed to receive the time-varying output signals from the flow cytometry units substantially continuously and to process the output signals.