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Running the kernel as a daemon?

I'm back to trying to figure out how I can interface with Mathematica from
an external program.  This may be covered in subsequent sections of the
Mathematica Book, but I want to get this message out before Today's
messages are posted.  I'm currently reading /2.13.8 Special Topic:
Communication with Mathematica Front Ends/.

Can I start a program - say a QApplication - which has its own "event loop",
not use MLMain, establish a connection to a running Mathematica kernel, and
communicate with the kernel asynchronously.  What I mean is that I want to
be able to run my program and do other things while the connection is
opened, and waiting for my program to send commands.  I'm pretty sure
I /can/ do this, but I'm not sure how easy it will be.  Do I need multiple
threads in my program to do this?

Also, I want to the kernel instance to run as a "server" or daemon, in the
same way it does for the front end.  Does MathLink make that easy?

Is there a C++ wrapper for MathLink? Where?
"Philosophy is written in this grand book, The Universe. ... But the book
cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language...
in which it is written. It is written in the language of mathematics, ...;
without which wanders about in a dark labyrinth."   The Lion of Gaul

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