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LabVIEW 8.6 steps up to parallel programming challenge

Posted: 06 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LabVIEW 8.6? parallel programming? multicore processor? multithreading?

National Instruments has released LabVIEW 8.6 graphical system design software platform that delivers new tools to help engineers and scientists take advantage of the benefits of multicore processors, FPGAs and wireless communication.

To take advantage of these technologies, engineers currently are forced to work with multiple tools which are not designed for parallel programming. By using the latest version of LabVIEW, engineers now have a single platform to increase test and control system throughput with multicore processors, reduce the development time of high-performance FPGA-based advanced control and embedded prototyping applications and more easily create distributed measurement systems to acquire data remotely.

"To meet the performance and efficiency demands of cutting-edge applications such as controlling robotic systems, testing wireless devices and designing hybrid vehicles, users must have the ability to quickly incorporate the latest technologies such as multicore processors, FPGAs and wireless communication," said James Truchard, president, CEO and cofounder of NI. "LabVIEW offers the shortest path to apply these technologies using parallel programming while providing users the flexibility to define their solutions with application-specific optimizations."

Multicore features
Expanding on the built-in multithreading technology of the LabVIEW platform, the latest version offers supercomputing performance through multicore-optimized features which can help engineers process increasing amounts of measurement data to meet advanced control application challenges and increase test system throughput.

To increase performance, LabVIEW 8.6 includes more than 1,200 advanced analysis functions optimized for faster math and signal processing on multicore systems for control and test applications. Vision applications can benefit from multicore systems by using image processing functions included in the NI Vision Development Module for LabVIEW 8.6 that automatically distributes data sets across multiple cores. Also using new multicore features, test engineers can develop applications to test wireless devices up to 4x faster with the latest version of the NI Modulation Toolkit for LabVIEW. In addition, control system engineers can execute simulation models in parallel up to 5x faster with the LabVIEW 8.6 Control Design and Simulation Module. Engineers can also better identify parallel sections of code using a new feature that reorganizes LabVIEW diagrams.

FPGA application
With the intuitive dataflow paradigm of LabVIEW, engineers can use the LabVIEW FPGA Module and FPGA-based commercial off-the-shelf hardware such as NI CompactRIO to customize measurement and control systems for increased performance in applications such as semiconductor validation and advanced machine control. LabVIEW 8.6 continues to make FPGAs more accessible to domain experts without experience in low-level hardware description languages or board-level design.

LabVIEW 8.6 further reduces FPGA-based development time with new features that engineers can use to program CompactRIO programmable automation controllers directly without having to separately program the FPGA. In addition, new simulation features reduce the number of time-consuming compilations by validating an FPGA application on the desktop. LabVIEW 8.6 also offers new IP development and integration features including the new fast Fourier transform IP core to offload spectral analysis functions which increases the performance in applications such as machine condition monitoring and RF test. Engineers easily can import existing or third-party IP into LabVIEW FPGA using the new component-level IP node.

Wireless technology
Using wireless technology with LabVIEW 8.6, engineers can extend applications into new areas of DAQ, such as environmental and structural monitoring. The flexibility of LabVIEW graphical programming and the ubiquity of Wi-Fi network infrastructure make it easy to incorporate wireless connectivity into new or existing PC-based measurement and control systems.

With support for the latest wireless DAQ devices and drivers for 22 third-party wireless sensors, LabVIEW 8.6 simplifies programming of distributed measurement systems with a single software platform. Engineers now can configure data acquisition applications easily to use NI Wi-Fi DAQ hardware without making code changes in LabVIEW 8.6. New 3D visualization tools in LabVIEW 8.6 help engineers integrate remote measurements with design models to accelerate design validation.

In addition, LabVIEW 8.6 allosws to convert LabVIEW applications into Web services on desktop and real-time hardware that they can access from any Web-enabled device such as smart phones and PCs. With this feature, engineers can develop remote user interfaces for their LabVIEW applications using standard web technologies such as HTML, JavaScript and Flash.

LabVIEW 8.6 is available for $1,199.

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