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Record Attendance Of Nearly 3,000 at NI Week

With innovation as the theme, topics up for discussion ranged from programming languages and new Ethernet-based products to “Big Physics,” the BP oil spill and Toyota’s recent problems.

James Truchard, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Instruments
James Truchard, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Instruments

Innovation was the theme at NI Week, the annual National Instruments Corp. ( user gathering in Austin, Texas, Aug. 3-5. A record number of attendees numbering just under 3,000 welcomed the annual technology displays at the keynotes and packed a large number of training sessions. During his remarks at a session with media, James Truchard, Ph.D, co-founder, president and chief executive officer, pondered the recent engineering crises from BP in the Gulf to Toyota and even to Apple’s “antennagate.” Although BP was a failure of engineering, he wondered if there was a management-created environment that allowed mistakes. As for Toyota, he wondered if perhaps management was worrying more about the bottom line than cars. Apple perhaps had too much of its own “religion,” that is, they are so good at design that they didn't think about the engineering aspects of the antenna design.

In his keynote, Co-founder and NI Fellow, Jeff Kodosky pondered how to account for time within a programming language. His keynotes always point to technologies that will eventually find their way into the company's flagship product—LabView. In the media session, Kodosky was asked if productivity tools would put engineers out of jobs. “Increased productivity means that engineers can do more,” he replied.

>> NI Week Video Essay from Gary Mintchell, click here

NI Week has expanded from product training and feedback to hosting a number of special forums. Included this year were a "Big Physics" forum discussing subjects including the CERN super-collider in Switzerland and a Clean Energy Technology forum.

Ethernet was a technology trend for product introductions. A few of the products introduced include an Ethernet-based CompactDAQ modular data acquisition system. The NI cDAQ-9188 chassis is designed to hold eight input/output (I/O) modules for measuring up to 256 channels of electrical, physical, mechanical or acoustic signals in a small (25 x 9 x 9 cm), rugged form factor and offering more than 50 different I/O modules. It features a standard Gigabit Ethernet infrastructure.

In addition to the Ethernet chassis, the NI CompactDAQ platform includes a four- and an eight-slot universal serial bus (USB) chassis and NI C Series I/O modules.

NI-DAQmx driver software, which is included with NI CompactDAQ, allows engineers and scientists to log data for simple experiments or develop a complete test system in NI LabView, NI LabWindows/CVI, ANSI C/C++ or Microsoft Visual Studio .Net. Furthermore, a consistent API means that an application developed for an NI CompactDAQ USB chassis will work with an NI CompactDAQ Ethernet chassis without any changes to software.

The NI 9157 and NI 9159 MXI-Express RIO chassis and NI 9148 Ethernet RIO chassis, which in addition to the existing NI 9144 EtherCAT chassis, extend the company’s offering of high-channel-count expansion chassis on a variety of buses.

National Instruments Corp.

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