NIWeek focuses on green engineering, new products, and technology trends

AUGUST 11, 2008--NIWeek 2008 provided a showcase for customers' green engineering applications, demonstrations of new products and future technologies, and initiatives that are preparing students for careers in science and technology.

AUGUST 11, 2008--Speaking to nearly 2,800 engineers and scientists, executives from National Instruments (NI, Austin, TX, USA; showcased customers' green engineering applications, demonstrated new products and future technologies, and highlighted initiatives that are preparing students for careers in science and technology during the 14th annual NIWeek graphical system design conference and exhibition.

James Truchard, NI president, CEO, and co-founder, discussed how customers are using NI technologies in their efforts to improve the environment, from increasing diesel engine efficiency to creating renewable energy and reducing the downtime of industrial machines. For example, Truchard, said, customers use NI LabVIEW graphical programming and hardware such as NI CompactRIO to identify and measure real-world problems as well as to design more efficient and environmentally friendly applications that solve those problems.

Following Truchard, NI senior vice president of R&D Tim Dehne demonstrated performance improvements available through new products, including LabVIEW 8.6, Wi-Fi and Ethernet data acquisition devices, the NI Single-Board RIO deployment platform, and PXI Express-based 6.6-GHz RF instruments. The products handle sophisticated test and measurement applications and are intended to offer a variety of deployment options for industrial and embedded applications. Dehne also highlighted customer applications that have leveraged a graphical system design approach, including a control system that decreases the electricity consumption of air-conditioning systems and a fire suppression system for cargo planes.

NI business and technology fellow Mike Santori opened the second day of the event by outlining how LabVIEW has evolved into a graphical system design tool that engineers and scientists use to develop advanced test, measurement, data acquisition, and embedded design applications. Santori demonstrated LabVIEW features currently in development including optimized multicore capabilities for LabVIEW MathScript, configuration-based dynamic testing, a system diagram tool for higher-level abstraction, and a wireless sensor network solution for creating custom measurements in environmental monitoring.

Jeff Kodosky, NI co-founder, business and technology fellow, and "father of LabVIEW," closed the second day keynote by highlighting the challenge of machine architecture changes including multicore processors and field- programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Kodosky pointed out that applications are becoming increasingly complex and require the acquisition, mining, and analysis of large data amounts into the petabyte range. With the movement of industry trends toward highly parallel machines and ever larger distributed data sets, Kodosky stated that LabVIEW graphical dataflow programming can play a role these new advanced applications.

Ray Almgren, vice president of academic relations, closed NIWeek 2008 by emphasizing the importance of getting students of all ages interested in science, technology, engineering and math. Almgren highlighted the NI collaborations with LEGO Education on the LEGO WeDo educational robotics platform as well as with the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition as examples of how industry and academia can work together to transform today's students into the innovative engineers of tomorrow.

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