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Using Mathematica in Support of LabVIEW: POWER in the Laboratory

H. Treat
Journal / Anthology

Northcon. Conference Record
Year: 1990
Page range: 353-358

Among the many software products touted as the latest, greatest thing which all engineers must own are two--LabVIEW and Mathematica--which are excellent products in their own right but which, when used in combination, bring extraordinary power and versatility to the Macintosh. LabVIEW is a graphics oriented computer language. By virtue of its visual nature, the ease with which programs can be written and debugged is truly phenomenal. The aspect of LabVIEW which makes it so simple is that programming is accomplished by "wiring" icons together; the result is that a LabVIEW program looks very much like an ordinary flow diagram. Thus, the diagrams produced by LabVIEW are essentially self-documenting in that the logic behind these 2-dimensional presentations is much simpler to grasp and debug than are the textual representations typical of most other computing languages. Of greatest interest to experimentalists... indeed, the principal purpose which motivated the development of LabVIEW...is the ease with which it facilitates data collection and instrument control. Mathematica, on the other hand, is an extraordinarily powerful mathematics program: it can manipulate equations symbolically, differentiate them and, provided a way can be found, integrate them as well. Of interest here are its superb curve fitting capabilities and the ease with which it can generate 2- and 3-dimensional graphs. The analytical and graphical power of Mathematica make it an ideal tool to use with LabVIEW. This paper describes some of the ways in which the author has used LabVIEW for data collection in two undergraduate laboratories--heat transfer and fluid mechanics. These descriptions are followed by accounts of how the LabVIEW generated data are read into Mathematica for analysis and, where appropriate, graphical presentation.

*Applied Mathematics > Visualization
*Wolfram Technology > Front End > Importing