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National Instruments makes LabVIEW free to U students

By Jesse Drake

With LabVIEW, National Instruments (NI) took some of the programming complexity out of system and software development. And now, University of Utah students may use LabVIEW on their laptops and desktop computers at no cost.

"Students are getting the same industry-leading software that is being used in the labs," said Bill Lutz, vendor manager for the Office of Software Licensing (OSL).

The U maintains an NI LabVIEW academic site license for university-owned computers. The vendor has decided to provide students with free access to the same software. Students can install LabVIEW in four easy steps.

LabVIEW works the way that the majority of people think – visually. Short for Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench, LabVIEW's key innovation is a proprietary graphical programming language called "G," which uses graphical diagrams instead of lines of text found in traditional programming languages like C, C++, or Java.

G workflows build the necessary code behind the scenes. According to NI, a single section of drag-and-drop G code is equivalent to 50 lines of text-based code. This allows LabVIEW users to better visualize every aspect of software and application design, and with the right training, more quickly develop working code.

LabVIEW is ideal for parallel programming, too, and the 2018 iteration of the software includes code support and standard integration with a broader set of languages that includes Python. LabVIEW also easily connects to hardware and common applications like Microsoft Excel.

Watch the video below for a quick glance at LabVIEW, and visit the OSL website to learn more about the U’s new student license and related resources.

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Video courtesy of National Instruments.


Did someone say free? No/low cost software at the U

In addition to innovative software like LabVIEW, a host of popular software is available to U students, staff, faculty, and departments for low or no cost, via OSL and other campus software license agreements.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, most software is limited to academic use only. 

Last Updated: 3/27/19