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National Instruments hosts graphical system design meet

Posted: 09 Aug 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:graphical system design? virtual machine? open source?

According to NI, Suite 4 enables LabVIEW users to fully extend the capabilities of the built-in object-oriented programming features of the LabVIEW graphical system design platform.

"Symbio's in-depth understanding of LabVIEW has enabled them to deliver an extremely powerful tool for LabVIEW users that require UML documentation," said Francis Griffiths, vice president of European sales for National Instruments. "Symbio's suite 4 makes it easy for users to document both small and large-scale design projects quickly as well as apply object-oriented programming practices to their LabVIEW applications."

In his keynote on NI Week day 2 company co-founder Jeff Kodosky, NI Business and Technology Fellow and inventor of LabView in 1986, remarked that NI is researching a system-level approach to graphical system design, one "whose code is not dependent on WAIT statements, but specified by a deadline".

"All that matters is that one agrees that the timing of end points such as a sensor and an actuator are defined in a system-level code." Kodosky said that NI researchers are exploring the good, the bad, and the ugly of such synchronous languages as Esterel, where timing clicks in a circuit are defined by PAUSE, instead of WAIT; Giotti with its task execution timeline; and PTIDES, a Berkeley programming language where "events" not "data" specify how activities need to occur.

"We need a realistic representation of timing, and we are progressing toward that as we move to the system-level approach in LabVIEW."

On the exhibit floor, Intel, National Instruments and Cyth Systems showed off "Rockbot", a robotic application that uses Intel Core 2 Quad processor running four processes on an NI PXi controller module. The controller controls a robot that plays an open source version of popular video game called Frets on Fire that imitates the commercial game Guitar Hero. In the video game players use the keyboard to play along with markers which appear on screen, and with the aim to score points, achieve a high point multiplier to complete a song. Here the song is completed by the robot in a most precise manner.

To accomplish the task each Intel processor core is virtualized with NI's real-time hypervisor with core 1 running machine vision; core 2 runs the image analysis algorithm, core 3 the control output loop to the actuators on the robot and core 4 running the game under Windows XP. Rockbot is used to show that an application with multi-core and virtualized embedded devices can share the same platform with a high level of determinism and isolation between task partitions.

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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