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National Instruments enhances LabVIEW FPGA

Xilinx Employee
Xilinx Employee
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The NI (National Instruments) GUI-based LabVIEW development environment has an FPGA module that allows you to extract real-time performance from several of the company’s FPGA- and Zynq-based hardware products. NI has just published a White Paper titled “LabVIEW FPGA 2013 Productivity Enhancements and Optimizations” that describes these new enhancements which fall into the following three categories:


Productivity Enhancements


  • FPGA High-Performance Linear Algebra Library: Advanced applications such as radio frequency communications, image and audio processing, heat distribution, and cryptography require high-performance algorithms on reconfigurable hardware. LabVIEW FPGA 2013 includes new IP libraries that allow you to easily implement FPGA-based high-performance algorithms.
  • Instrument Driver FPGA Extensions: Test engineers now have even more options for programming their software-designed instruments such as NI vector signal transceivers (VSTs) with the release of instrument driver FPGA extensions.
  • Improved Signal Visualization in Debugging Tools: You can use traditional debugging tools such as probes, execution highlighting, breakpoints, and single-stepping when simulating your FPGA VIs on the development computer. However, in FPGA designs that involve communication protocols, you need to view signals in relation to each other with history data in order to debug the application. LabVIEW FPGA 2013 introduces a new probe based on sampling events that makes it easy to visualize signals on a waveform graph including relevant timing information.
  • Extended I/O Simulation and Timing Control Capabilities: LabVIEW FPGA gives you the ability to generate I/O signals to simulate the functionality of real-world I/O. This is traditionally done by simulating random data or configuring a custom simulation VI. LabVIEW FPGA 2013 offers a more direct path for providing simulated data to your LabVIEW FPGA VI.
  • Dynamic Bitfile Deployment Options: Bitfiles contain all the information required to configure an FPGA device and are the result of the compilation process. The reconfigurable nature of FPGAs resides in these files in such a way that you can modify the functionality of a deployed device on the field by downloading a new bitfile dynamically. LabVIEW FPGA 2013 includes new options to manage and deploy different personalities for FPGA targets.


Proficiency Resources for LabVIEW RIO Developers


  • High-Performance RIO Developer's Guide: Similar to the popular NI LabVIEW for CompactRIO Developer's Guide, the High-Performance RIO Developer’s Guide helps you understand and apply high-performance RIO concepts such as single-cycle Timed Loop programming, data streaming, pipelining, handshaking, VHDL code integration, and other performance optimization techniques using NI FlexRIO and the NI PXI platform.
  • Self-Paced Online Training for LabVIEW Real-Time and FPGA: If you don’t have the time or resources to participate in an instructor-led training program, LabVIEW Real-Time 1, LabVIEW Real-Time 2: Architecting Embedded Systems, and LabVIEW FPGA are now available as self-paced online training.
  • Certified LabVIEW Embedded Systems Developer (CLED) Certification: A CLED demonstrates proficiency and expertise in analyzing requirements and designing, developing, debugging, and deploying mission critical, medium- to large-scale control and monitoring applications.


Compatibility with the Latest Hardware


  • Extended Processing and Throughput Capabilities With the NI cRIO-9068 System: The cRIO-9068 controller offers high performance with low-power consumption for advanced control and monitoring applications powered by LabVIEW FPGA. As part of the LabVIEW RIO architecture, the new NI cRIO-9068 software-designed controller is based on the Xilinx Zynq-7020 All Programmable SoC.
  • Increased Performance With 7 Series FPGA Family: The newest NI FlexRIO FPGA module combines the impressive signal-processing power of the Xilinx 7 series FPGA family with flexible, customizable I/O to form a high-performance, reconfigurable instrument powered by LabVIEW FPGA. The new NI PXIe-7975R is capable of streaming data at rates of up to 1.6 GB/s through its PCIe backend, and at up to 10GB/s to its 2 GB of on-board DRAM, enabling data-intensive applications such as medical imaging and record and playback. The available internal memory and digital-signal processing (DSP) slices make it ideal for real-time processing and analysis in RF communications and scientific research.