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National Instruments (NI) has unveiled Labview 2010, the latest version of its graphical programming environment for design, test, measurement and control applications.

Labview 2010 features off-the-shelf compiler technologies that execute code 20 per cent faster on average and a marketplace for evaluating and purchasing add-on toolkits for integrating custom functionality into the platform.

For field-programmable gate-array (FPGA) users, Labview 2010 delivers a new IP integration node that makes it possible to integrate any third-party FPGA IP into Labview applications and is compatible with the Xilinx Core Generator.

Labview abstracts the complexity of programming by giving users drag-and-drop graphical function blocks and wires that resemble a flowchart to develop their sophisticated systems.

The system offers integration with thousands of hardware devices, provides hundreds of built-in libraries for advanced analysis and data visualisation and is scalable across multiple operating systems (OSs) and targets such as x86 processors, real-time OSs (RTOSs) and FPGAs.

Labview has been adopted for applications ranging from the Lego Mindstorms NXT robotics kit to the Cern Large Hadron Collider.

According to NI, key to the productivity delivered by Labview is the compiler, which abstracts tasks such as memory allocation and thread management.

With Labview 2010, the compiler data flow intermediate representation has been optimised and Low-Level Virtual Machine (LLVM), an open-source compiler infrastructure, has been added to the software’s compiler flow to accelerate code execution.

The company has conducted benchmarks ranging from real-world customer applications to low-level functions and the new compiler delivers an average improvement of 20 per cent across these benchmarks.

With the release of Labview 2010, NI is introducing the Labview Add-On Developer Program to give thousands of partners the opportunity to expand the platform and introduce custom functionality into Labview.

The program establishes an online marketplace as part of the updated Labview Tools Network for developers to offer their free and paid toolkits and a location for Labview users to browse, download, evaluate and purchase the add-ons.

More than 50 add-ons from NI and third-party developers are available, including code reuse libraries, templates, UI controls and connectors to other software packages.

In addition, Labview users can utilise the VI Package Manager from JKI to connect directly to the Labview Tools Network from their desktop and manage add-on installations and updates.

NI has also partnered with technology providers such as Xilinx to further expand the Labview environment.

One example in Labview 2010 is the new IP integration node, which makes it possible for users to integrate any third-party FPGA IP into the Labview FPGA module and offers direct compatibility with cores created with the Xilinx Core Generator.

Labview now provides a hardware configuration tool that makes it possible for users to access and configure their Labview real-time targets remotely via a web browser.

Other features include a smart installer that automatically detects the software associated with a serial number for faster installation and an improved instrument driver finder that offers pre-built project examples for specific instruments.

For more advanced users and development groups, Labview 2010 includes features that improve interfaces to reusable-code group VIs and their hierarchy for faster build times and that separate the VI source code from the compiled version to aid source code management.

These capabilities are ideal for large group development where code maintenance across many users, software versions and computer platforms is necessary.

Members of the Labview service maintenance and support programme will receive Labview 2010 automatically in the mail; alternatively, they can download the new version from the NI Services Resource Center online.

Customers whose software is part of a company-wide volume licence agreement (VLA) should contact their VLA administrators for special installation instructions.

National Instruments

National Instruments transforms the way engineers and scientists around the world design, prototype and deploy systems for test, control and embedded design applications. Using NI LabVIEW graphical programming software and modular hardware, customers at more than 30,000 companies annually simplify development, increase productivity and dramatically reduce time to market. From testing next-generation gaming systems to creating breakthrough medical devices to controlling autonomous vehicles, NI customers continuously develop innovative technologies that impact millions of people’s lives.

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