Friday, July 29, 2011

NI Week: Austin in August


Every year in August, National Instruments hosts NIWeek, a truly impressive event that focuses on graphical system design and the company’s test & measurement and controller software. This conference attracts more than 3,000 of the world's brightest engineers, educators, and scientists. NIWeek 2011, the company's 17th annual customer and technology conference, opens August 2 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, for three days of interactive technical sessions, targeted summits, hands-on workshops, and exhibitions on the latest developments for design, control, automation, manufacturing, and test. The conference also features keynote presentations and demonstrations that highlight how engineers and scientists can use NI graphical system design to test, measure, and fix inefficient products and processes to improve everyday life.

There are many benefits for attending NIWeek 2011, including the technical sessions, a chance to see NI collaborators and their products, and the opportunity to network, which is such a critical part of our careers. The conference provides opportunities to boost productivity through the three full days of interactive technical sessions, exhibitions, and hands-on workshops on the latest technologies for control, design, measurement, automation, manufacturing, and test. The company claims that most engineering professionals who attend the conference increase their productivity significantly.

This year's keynotes include founder Dr. James Truchard who will discuss the latest technologies, including timing and synchronization, streaming digital signal processor (DSP) design, and software-defined radios, to optimize graphical system designs around the world.Jeff Kodosky, coinventor and "Father of LabVIEW" with more than 30 patented LabVIEW technologies, sharing his vision for tackling challenging timing problems with LabVIEW, the future of graphical system design, and the possibilities it presents for engineers and scientists.

NI R&D engineers will also explore cutting-edge products and technologies that enable new applications and change the way engineers and scientists design, build, and test complex systems. I had the chance to attend NI Week several years ago and I have to say it is a great experience. The atmosphere is similar to the most advanced science fair you could ever imagine. When the R&D team shows off their stuff, they always put together a highly entertaining demo. When I attended there were chopper motorcycles, dunk tanks, archery, high-speed video capture and giant flat panel screens called into service to wow the audience. Not to mention the hyped-up sound system. It was a little bit like a Vegas production, a little bit Mac World.

If we wanted to get the next generation of kids excited about science, I would send them to NIWeek. Its that much fun. Unlike dedicated microwave shows like IMS, this event really lets engineers experience technology far outside their usual experience. It is very rewarding and eye opening. Of course their will be a dedicated RF pavilion for RF/microwave engineers that want to slip into their comfort zone while attending. I will also be there to meet Massachusetts Executive Fanny Mlinarsky of Octoscope and hear her talk about Over-the-Air Test solutions.

And the big acquisition of AWR and Phase Matrix this past spring should make this year's NI week especially relevant. Hope to see some of our readers there.

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