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Another Super MLUG with Global Attendance!

It was our third foray in to virtual events, and our Winter Midlands LabVIEW User Group didn't disappoint! Whilst a year ago we might have hoped to be doing in person events again, we also recognise that our virtual events enable many more people to attend than normally would. This is all good news for spreading the LabVIEW and MLUG love that we aim to! We will see what lies in store for us for our next meeting.

As always, it was a pleasure to welcome over 40 attendees to participate in the User Group with many new MLUGers joining us from across the UK, Europe, North America and beyond. Our speakers were dialing in from Sweden, North America, Portugal and the UK so this in turn made it an international affair.

First up we welcomed Fred Niemela who is a self-employed consultant from Örebro, Sweden. He is a CLA with more than 15 years of LabVIEW experience. Fred has mainly worked within test and measurement in several different industries, such as Automotive, Telecom, MedTech and Defence & Aerospace. His presentation "The concepts of Synthetic Instruments" went down well with lots of questions and comments from the audience. He discussed how to reduce the hardware cost and footprint of Automated Test Systems (ATEs) and to replace legacy instrumentation using Synthetic Instruments. He took us through the basic principles of the concept, how it differs from traditional rack-and-stack Automated Test Systems (ATEs) and Virtual Instruments, and also provided some practical techniques to reduce the amount of hardware needed in our systems.

This was a new concept to a few of the MLUGers and something that definitely got the thoughts going on how this might apply in Argenta's world, there is certainly value in this approach and lots of benefits that can be realised. It was great to hear a talk on a new topic and we hope to welcome Fred back as a speaker and attendee in the future.

We then travelled to Texas where Matt Pollock joined us. Up until very recently Matt was a Principal Solutions Engineer at NI, though he has now moved on to a role as a Solution Architect for Amazon Web Services in Austin. He gave a very interactive presentation which he has entitled "Keeping Software Projects As Simple as Possible (But No Simpler)". This talked us through the tradeoffs we might have to make, knowing when we need to stop testing and how we finish up the project. He gave us some best practices and lessons that he has learned from a variety of projects that didn't get the balance quite right, as well as a few that did.

A lot of what Matt discussed resonated not only with the guys from Argenta, but the audience as a whole, we always love to hear about how other people are doing things. With these types of presentation source code control is always an interesting one as a range of approaches are taken, some even sticking to creating copies on file! We also learnt a few things to take back to how we do projects, so thanks Matt and good luck in your new role!

We finished off the meeting with a MLUG Coding Challenge ReviewLeahAdrian and Petru from Renishaw, and Luis from the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto stepped up to share with us the approaches they used to solve a coding challenge based on buying some beers at the Euros finals (a little 'old school'). 

With the code review style sessions, it is always fascinating how people approach the same problem differently, none of them right, none of them wrong, just different. Luis had taken the approach to adopt 3rd part languages to implement the algorithm for calculating the number of combinations, with Python and C++ being used. Leah had put together a few different approaches, with recursion and quotient remainder solutions. Fortunately everyone came to the same answer and they were pretty quick at finding it too. Thanks again to everyone that participated, it was really valuable to be able to see how the challenge had been approached.

If you missed any of the content, or want to take another look, you can catch up on our YouTube channel where you will also find recordings from the last few MLUGs.

Our Summer meeting is scheduled for 9th June, we have three great presenters lined up - Mark Ridgley, Adam Todd & Luis Noites. Full content to be confirmed nearer the time. You can already sign up here.

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