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Friday, January 4, 2013

Explain LabVIEW (Laboratory virtual instrumentation engineering workbench)?

Laboratory virtual instrumentation engineering workbench (or labview as it is commonly known) is a platform developed for designing systems and presents a development environment. 
- The environment it provides is for the development of visual programming language from what are known as the national instruments. 
- The graphical language that is usually used is commonly known as “G”. 
- Make sure that you do not yourselves with G code.
- This graphical language had its release for the Apple Macintosh in the year of 1986. 

Labview is used for a number of purposes few of which are:
  1. Data acquisition
  2. Instrument control
  3. Industrial automation and so on.
All these functions can be carried out on a number of platforms including:
a)    Unix
b)    Linux
c)    Mac OS X and
d)    Microsoft windows

- Labview 2012 which is the latest version of labview has been released recently in year 2012 in the month of August. 
- 'G' is actually a data flow programming language. 
- The structure of the graphical block diagram helps in determining the execution. 
- This graphical block diagram is actually composed of the LV source code using which the different function nodes can be connected via wires. 
- Variables are propagated by these wires. 
- Any node for which all the input data is available can be put in to execution immediately. 
- It involves a number of modes simultaneously, parallel execution is very much possible in G.
- Built-in scheduler is automatically exploited through multi–threading and multi– processing hardware.
- Multiple OS threads are multiplexed by the built – in scheduler over the nodes that are ready to be executed. 
- User interfaces called front panels are created by the labview and incorporated in to the development cycle. 
- The programs or subroutines of the labview are termed as virtual instruments or VIs. 

There are 3 main components of each VI namely:
  1. A block diagram
  2. A front panel and
  3. A connector panel
- The third component i.e., the connector panel is used for the representation of the virtual instrument in the other virtual instruments which call this one. 
- Front panel comprises of the indicators and controls, thus allowing the operator to input or extract data from an active virtual instrument. 
- Another feature of the front panel is that it also serves as a programmatic interface. 

Thus, a virtual instrument can be run in either of the two ways:
  1. As a program: The front panel serves as a user interface.
  2. As a node on to the block diagram: The inputs and outputs for a particular node are defined by the front panel through the connector panel.
- Any of the virtual instruments can be tested very easily before it is embedded in to the main program as a subroutine. 
- Even non-programmers can take the benefit of the graphical approach since using it, they can build programs by just dragging and dropping the lab equipment’s’ virtual representation with which they have some familiarity. 
- Advantage is that the labview programming environment comes with documentation and some included examples which can be used to work out small applications very easily. 
- There is one disadvantage also which is that one might underestimate the expertise required from implementing high quality G – programming.
- Also, as far as complex programming or large scale programming is concerned it is a must for the programmer to have an extensive knowledge regarding the labview syntax and the topology it uses for the management of memory. 
- The advanced development system of the labview lets you create stand –a lone applications also.

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