Why Should I Use LabVIEW in Education?

National Instruments understands the unique requirements and challenges educators around the world face on a daily basis. It's not enough to merely provide products, but a system must be in place to assist educators with the proper resources, which ultimately benefit your research and student learning. National Instruments readily works with universities, professors, and students to integrate the use of LabVIEW in classrooms, labs, and research.

Table of Contents:

Software and System Benefits


What is LabVIEW?
LabVIEW is a graphical development environment with built-in functionality for simulation, data acquisition, instrument control, measurement analysis, and data presentation. LabVIEW gives you the flexibility of a powerful programming language without the complexity of traditional development environments. LabVIEW delivers extensive acquisition, analysis, and presentation capabilities in a single environment, so you can seamlessly develop a complete solution on the platform of your choice.

Intuitive Graphical Environment for Development Productivity
The LabVIEW graphical development environment gives you powerful tools to create applications without writing any lines of text-based code. With LabVIEW, you drag and drop pre-built objects to quickly and simply create user interfaces for your application. Then, you specify system functionality by assembling block diagrams -- a natural design notation for scientists and engineers.

Tight Integration with Thousands of Instruments and Measurement Devices
LabVIEW delivers seamless connectivity with measurement hardware, so you can quickly configure and use virtually any measurement device, including everything from stand-alone instruments to plug-in data acquisition devices, motion controllers, image acquisition systems, real-time systems, distributed control, and programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Plus, LabVIEW works with more than 2000 instrument libraries from hundreds of vendors. No other vendor provides this broad range of measurement systems with tight integration of hardware and software.

Compiled to Optimize System Performance
In many applications, execution speed is critical. With a built-in compiler that generates optimized code, your LabVIEW applications deliver execution speeds comparable to compiled C programs. With LabVIEW, you can develop systems that meet even the most demanding performance requirements across a variety of platforms including Windows, Linux, Macintosh, UNIX, or real-time systems.

A Development Environment for the Design Flow Process
Unlike general purpose programming languages, LabVIEW provides functionality specifically tailored to the needs of simulation, measurement, control, and automation applications, accelerating your development process. From built-in analysis capabilities to connectivity with a wide variety of I/O, LabVIEW delivers what engineers and scientists need to quickly build test and measurement, data acquisition, embedded control, scientific research, and process monitoring systems.

Open Connectivity with Other Applications
With LabVIEW, you can connect to other applications and share data through the Internet, ActiveX, DLLs, shared libraries, SQL, TCP/IP, XML, OPC, wireless communication and other methods. LabVIEW's open connectivity enables you to create open, flexible applications that can communicate with other applications across your organization. LabVIEW also supports Matlab Mscript and direct connectivity to other popular applications such as Mathematica, MultiSim from Electronics Workbench, MathCad, and Texas Instruments' Code Composer Studio.

 

Student Benefits


LabVIEW is an easy-to-learn programming language and engineering tool. Students who learn LabVIEW will benefit not only academically, but also professionally.

Academically
The intuitive graphical nature of LabVIEW allows students to focus on the theory being taught and not programming nuances often associated with many text-based engineering software applications. Thus, students focus on the logical instruction associated with loops, if statements, and other data structures, with the added benefit that the time necessary to learn how to develop complex programs is much shorter than with traditional text-based programming environments.

"The ease of use and versatility of LabVIEW...has enabled us to develop a functional, robust system almost overnight with very little prior experience with the hardware or software."
-Chris Terwelp, Student
Virginia Tech

Watch the Video of their Remote Bomb Excavation Project

Professionally
National Instruments understands that the ultimate goal of any educational institution is to educate and prepare its students for rewarding careers in their future professions. LabVIEW is used across a diverse range of industries such as aerospace, biomedical, semiconductors, and telecommunications. Students that have knowledge and experience with such a widely-accepted tool increase their marketability and effectiveness in the workplace.

"LabVIEW is a programming language, equivalent to C++, Visual Basic, or any other language. It is the ONLY widely accepted graphical programming language. Graphical programming is a language of the future and carries with it many important programming concepts. I feel, it is the responsibility of universities (such as Penn State) to expose, at least, every Computer Science and Engineering student to these new concepts."
-Scott Deno, Associate Director
Center for Electronic Design, Communications, and Computing
Pennsylvania State University

"Over 75% of my students use LabVIEW skills in their first job."
-Paul Dixon, Professor
Physics Department
California State University, San Bernardino

"I graduated from South Dakota State University in May of 1998. My Senior Design Project (advised by Dr. Hietpas) was a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System for our Power Laboratory. My team members and I were able to acquire extensive experience with LabVIEW throughout the course of the project. As graduation time approached, I began mailing out resumes, which highlighted my exposure to LabVIEW. My resume ended up in a software and electronics research center at 3M in St. Paul, MN where they noticed my LabVIEW experience and brought me in for an interview. LabVIEW is the software of choice for several engineers in the group who design quick, yet powerful test setups for various divisions throughout 3M. I was told by the hiring manager that my knowledge of LabVIEW was key to getting me the opportunity to interview. Well, the group hired me and I'm still here almost five years later, still at 3M and still using LabVIEW! So thank you Dr. Hietpas, thank you SDSU, and thank you LabVIEW!"
-Travis W. Rasmussen
Advanced Design Engineer
3M

Instructor Benefits


LabVIEW offers many benefits to instructors from enhancing lectures and laboratories with the power of distance learning, to improving research productivity. In addition, National Instruments provides several resources to help instructors save time when integrating LabVIEW into their curriculum.

Experiments and Courseware
The Measurement & Automation Experiments Library contains experiments written by educators that show the use of National Instruments products in academic labs around the world. Courseware is a collection of related experiments that encompasses an entire course or topic. Every experiment and courseware is FREE to download, ready-to-use, easy-to-modify, and contains:

Our Experiments Library and courseware saves you valuable time developing your curriculum. The theory and lab exercises have already been tested and put to use by educators around the world.
View the Courseware Library
View the Measurement and Automation Experiments Library

Academic Directory
National Instruments maintains an on-line Academic Directory that includes schools from around the world and how they use NI products in the classroom. Over 1000 examples, by no means exhaustive, have been submitted.
View the Academic Directory

Distance Learning and Remote Laboratory Ready
The Internet has opened up many possibilities for educators to share remote equipment and allow students to run experiments outside of the laboratory. Since 1995, LabVIEW has supported Internet connectivity for remote systems and sharing of data and resources. Now, with the release of Remote Front Panels in LabVIEW 6.1, you can convert any LabVIEW program into a remotely controlled application with no additional programming. Visit the link below to find tutorials, sample code, and experiments you can control remotely.
View Distance Learning Examples

Flexible Academic Site Licensing
National Instruments has very unique software licensing for Universities. We believe the best approach is to keep licensing simple, affordable, and all-inclusive.

View Software Licensing Information

 

 

Community


LabVIEW has been widely adopted throughout the academic community, and National Instruments provides many resources for collaborating with LabVIEW users throughout the academic community.

The International Journal of Engineering Education
Testament to the fact that LabVIEW is a worldwide standard in education, The International Journal of Engineering Education, a peer-reviewed journal, has acknowledged the critical role LabVIEW plays in engineering education by devoting an entire issue to LabVIEW applications and is currently gathering materials for a second.

 

 

From the Volume 16, Number 3 2000 issue:

"THIS ISSUE on the applications of National Instruments LabVIEW software in engineering education is a milestone in the history of the journal. For the first time we are devoting a whole issue to work with a software that has found applications in many areas of engineering education. So, although we show applications with a specific software package, its usefulness is interdisciplinary, and yet it is not a general purpose software for office use such as spreadsheet packages."
-Michael Wald
Editor-In-Chief of International Journal of Engineering Education
Professor, Dublin Institute of Technology

LabVIEW Zone
LabVIEW Zone is your on-line community to share ideas and code, to network with your peers and user groups, and to learn how to improve your LabVIEW development skills.
Visit the LabVIEW Zone

 

Support


National Instruments provides free technical support to all customers for as long as they own NI products. The following are the variety of support options we offer to meet your needs.

Discussion Forums, Phone, and E-mail Support
Get free help using NI products worldwide via a user forum, phone or e-mail.
Request Support from an NI Engineer

Web Support
NI Technical Support Web Site
For the second consecutive year, our support page was named one of the year's 10 best Web support sites by the Association of Support Professionals (ASP).
Visit NI Technical Support

NI Developer Zone Web Site
On the NI Developer Zone, you will find thousands of examples, tutorials, white papers, and discussion forums to interact with NI engineers and educators around the world.
Visit NI Developer Zone

On-site Support
Since National Instruments has a direct sales force, an engineer is able to visit you in the event you need personal assistance solving a technical issue, training on NI products or related technologies, and advice configuring and designing systems. Very few companies make the investment required for such personal service.
Find Your Local Sales Contact

Training
National Instruments hosts hands-on training courses, on all of our products, conveniently located at regional locations. Courses are led by an experienced NI engineer and class size is limited. Courses are typically two to three days in duration and are available at discounted academic rates. Interactive training CDs, based on our hands-on courses, is included in our academic site licensing for self-paced training.
View our Training Information

 

Summary


National Instruments understands your needs as an educator and is continuously developing new products and resources to increase your effectiveness in the lab and classroom. With 20 years of refinement, LabVIEW is an open, flexible, worldwide-adopted tool that enables scientists, engineers, and Nobel Prize laureates to design, simulate, and test their cutting-edge measurement and automation systems. We understand the issues of computing, software design, measurement and control hardware, resources, and customer support to provide a seamlessly integrated solution that is unrivaled in the industry. This translates into a modular solution that integrates with your existing systems with minimal effort, yet readily adapts to your requirements when needed.