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The keys to solving the world's top engineering challenges

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1 Author(s)
Powell, B.H. ; Nat. Instrum. Corp., Austin, TX, USA

When LabVIEW was first released in 1986, we had dreams of where it might go and how it might be used, but mostly, we were just hoping people would want to use it. Over the years, we learned that our strength was in giving non-programmers a productive programming tool. We took physicists, mechanical engineers, and other domain experts, and lowered the barrier to software development - they could build the software themselves. We found ourselves facing, researching, and solving challenges in end-user development and end-user software engineering. Lab VIEW is one of the few programming languages that literally scales from kindergarten through rocket science. With the help of the LEGO Group and organizations such as FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), we're reaching hundreds of thousands of children - especially girls and minorities. We're keeping them interested in science, math, and engineering. They are using the same tools used by the world's leading engineers who are tackling the top engineering challenges - creating nuclear fusion, studying the universe, providing access to clean water, and performing cutting edge medical research. In this talk, I'll look back at some of the design decisions we made that led us through the last 25 years. Many of those decisions turned out to be quite fortunate, such as our early decision to use by-value dataflow semantics, allowing our users to enjoy the benefits of multicore computing with no changes to their programs. Ultimately, though, our success is measured by the success of our end users, as they take on the world's problems. We need to continue to empower our end users with new capabilities. I will also discuss areas of future research, including formal verification of Lab VIEW programs, our efforts to incorporate multiple models of computation and graphical system design, and our continuing efforts to help our end users engineer good software without being programming experts.

Published in:

Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VL/HCC), 2011 IEEE Symposium on

Date of Conference:

18-22 Sept. 2011