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NI unveils latest LabVIEW with multicore support

Posted: 10 Aug 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:NI LabVIEW? multicore support? version 8.5?

National Instruments has released the latest version of its LabVIEW graphical system design platform for test, control and embedded system development.

LabVIEW version 8.5 simplifies multicore as well as FPGA-based application development using an intuitive parallel dataflow language. Running on parallel multicore architectures, version 8.5 enables an improved test throughput, more efficient processor-intensive analysis and more reliable real-time systems on dedicated processor cores.

This version also adds a statechart design module for modeling and implementing system behavior to ease the design of embedded and industrial applications. New I/O libraries and analysis functions have been added for industrial monitoring and control.

Slew of enhancements
A slew of other enhancements include support for Freescale ColdFire processors and an evaluation bundle with QNX OS support, project file management tools and graphical code merging for team-based development, low-level memory management tools for performance optimization, new optimized BLAS linear algebra libraries, improved edge detection for image processing, and optimized algorithms for various demodulators and channel coding schemes, control design and simulation enhancements including model predictive control (MPC) and analytical PID controller design, and improved support of .m file scripts.

"With the shift toward multicore processors on the PC, LabVIEW programmers benefit from a simplified graphical approach to multithreading, making it possible for engineers and scientists to maximize the performance of multicore technology with little to no change to their applications," said James Truchard, NI president, CEO and co-founder.

The parallel dataflow language in LabVIEW enables the mapping of applications to multicore and FPGA architectures for data streaming, control, analysis and signal processing. Earlier versions of the tool included an automatic multithreading capability and now LabVIEW 8.5 scales user applications based on the total available number of cores and delivers enhanced thread-safe drivers and libraries to improve throughput for RF, high-speed digital I/O and mixed-signal test applications.

Version 8.5 also delivers symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) with the LabVIEW real-time environment where designers of embedded and industrial systems can automatically load balance tasks across multiple cores without sacrificing determinism. With this latest version, users can manually assign portions of code to specific processor cores to fine-tune real-time systems or isolate time-critical sections of code on a dedicated core.

Real-time execution trace toolkit 2.0 has been developed to visually display timing relationships between sections of code and the individual threads and processing cores where the code is executing which should improve debugging and code optimization.

FPGA Project Wizard
An enhanced FPGA Project Wizard has been added to LabVIEW 8.5 to automate I/O configuration, IP development and overall setup for common I/O, counter/timer and encoder applications. The wizard will automate the generation of more complex high-speed DMA data transfer code. Additionally, LabVIEW 8.5 offers multichannel filtering and PID control functions commonly needed in machine automation to significantly reduce FPGA resources for high-channel-count applications.

A new statechart module should aid the design and simulation of these event-based systems using familiar, high-level statechart notations based on the unified modeling language (UML) standard. The module is based on the LabVIEW graphical programming language providing a single platform to design, prototype and deploy systems and combining familiar statechart notation with real-world I/O running on deterministic real-time or FPGA-based systems.

LabVIEW 8.5 adds a range of I/O, measurement and display enhancements for building industrial systems using programmable automation controllers (PAC), including a new library of OPC drivers that expands industrial connectivity for LabVIEW users, nearly doubling the number of compatible programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and industrial devices.

Version 8.5 also adds vibration and order tracking measurements and machine vision algorithms for industrial machine monitoring systems. For high-channel-count systems, a multivariable editor eases the configuration or editing of hundreds of I/O tags using a simple spreadsheet interface. It also provides flexible pipe display tools to simplify the process for building more realistic industrial user interfaces and an interactive drag-and-drop approach to tie I/O tags directly to user interface displays running on Windows CE-based industrial touch panels and handheld PDAs.

- Colin Holland
EE Times Europe

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