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NI Labview vs Matlab/Simulink

  1. Apr 18, 2009 #1
    I havent used Labview enough to know everything it can do, or even what it is mainly used for (used it in only one class).

    What is LabView mainly used for? is it comparable to Simulink, or are they meant to do different things?

    Which do you prefer to use?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2009 #2
    They are two very different things. Labview is mostly used as a software interface for external hardware. Matlab is mostly used for data processing and simulations although it can control external hardware like Labview can as well.
  4. Apr 18, 2009 #3
    Actually I am referring to Simulink (and not Matlab) vs Labview, I rialize that Matlab and Labview are used for different things.

    Its just that from my limited use with Labview, it seems like it does the same sort of thing that Simulink does, only slower, a much poorer UI, the weirdest saving system Ive ever seen, and best of all random crashing.

    are they meant for different things?
  5. Apr 19, 2009 #4
    Simulink is used for designing, modelling and simulating control systems and signal processing systems. For instance, one of the uses I've had for it over the years was using it to model a feedback system for servo control of a DC motor, and comparing it to my actual results. You can create systems graphically and then use M files to communicate/interact with them. Some of my colleagues use it for image processing and waveform analysis of sound waves.

    LabVIEW is a lot more general. It's a graphical object orientated programming language which allows you to rapidly build 'instruments' that can do a range of things. As I understand it evolved primarily from data acquisition and hardware interfacing, but can do a variety of different things. My first virtual instruments were built to acquire data from a hot wire anemometer and apply a variety of statistical analyses to them. Subsequently I've learned a lot more about it and currently use it for acquiring and analysing load-time and acceleration-time traces. One such example was developed into a standalone test program for a client. Another area I'm looking at with it is image acquisition and analysis via high speed camera systems.

    As for reliability, the only troubles I've ever really had with LabVIEW were migrating from an XP system to Vista (don't ask, worst decision my employer at the time ever made) but were soon resolved with subsequent compatible versions. The UI is pretty intuitive, and speed and crashing issues are usually strongly related to programmer choices. I would hazard a guess as to you probably learning from an older version on an old machine though.

    At the end of the day, it comes down to a user preference - you can do many of the same things in both packages, some better in one and some better in the other.
  6. Apr 19, 2009 #5


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    You can also call MATLAB (and by extension, Simulink) from within LabView. If you (purchase and) install the LabView Math Interface Toolbox for MATLAB, you can do it the other way around, as well:
    http://zone.ni.com/devzone/cda/tut/p/id/2716 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  7. Apr 19, 2009 #6
    Thanks Timmay. Your explinatiopn helped a bit :)

    So you can do a lot of similar things in both.

    I did use LABView on fairly old systems, but it just crashed a lot, and for seemingly no reason. And not only for me, for everyone in my lab. They were fairly onld computers though, P4 class I believe, and LabVIEW 8.5, 8.6 was the latest at the time.

    The reason I am unclear as to the differences between the 2 is because last semester I took a signals class, and we used LABView to do various things such as image processing, filtering, and frequency graphing. This semester I am takinga controls class, and we use Simulink to design control Systems, but I still see a lot of the same blocks we used in LABView in Simulink

    And as far as the speed thing goes. We had to create a simple image filter, probably a blurr or b/w filter or something. I made mine in Matlab first, since I was already farmiliar with it, and it worked gret; tehn I modded it slightly to run in LABView, and it took a lot longer to run...Matlab took around a tenth of a second, while LABView ran for about 10-15 seconds.

    The impressions I get from LABView are that its slower and less reliable than Matlab, and I feel like theres no reason to choose it over Matlab unless it is for a specific toolbox that LABView has and Matlab doesnt.
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