New Delhi: For the first time in the country, academic users in India will have free access to the Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench (LabVIEW) software suite – a system-design platform and development environment for a visual programming language. The Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM), the national web portal for sharing research equipment/facilities, and National Instruments Inc., headquartered in Austin, TX, USA, entered into a collaborative arrangement to enable this free access to the platform. I-STEM (www.istem.gov.in) is an initiative by the Scientists of the Indian Institute of Science Bangalore supported by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India under the PM-STIAC mission.
Launching LabVIEW during an online event on Monday, July 18, 2022, the honourable chief guest Prof. A.K. Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Govt. of India, noted that the availability of such software platforms to academics and deep-tech start-ups in the country would lead to collaborative research and increasing innovation. “Benefits of such a platform would be greater if users could access experts that can help them understand and interpret the results of their experiments” remarked Prof Sood. He added that it was important to ensure that users duly acknowledged the public investment made by the Govt. in I-STEM. He also clarified that the acknowledgement should not be in the form of any authorship in reports/publications.
LabVIEW uses a graphic interface that enables different elements to be joined together to provide the required flow and runs on Windows, OS X (Apple), and Linux Operating systems, making it suitable for most computing systems.
The software suite is hosted on the cloud server established by the I-STEM to provide user-friendly access from anywhere in India. The arrangement is expected to assist many students and researchers in the country, especially those in the more remote and less-endowed institutions, thereby enhancing learning outcomes and promoting R&D efforts across India. I-STEM already provides academics with access to COMSOL Multiphysics and MathWorks/MATLAB platforms, at no cost.
As presented during the launch by Dr. Sanjeev Kumar Shrivastava, National Coordinator, the goal of the I-STEM platform is to strengthen the R&D ecosystem by connecting researchers with resources. The platform does this, in part, by promoting technologies and scientific equipment development indigenously and providing necessary supplies and support to researchers, enabling them to access existing R&D facilities through the I-STEM web portal. The portal hosts the database of facilities across India so that a researcher desirous of using any of them can search for the same and make a booking online for using it. Presently, the portal lists more than 22,900 pieces of equipment from 1520 institutions across the country and has been used by more than 16,000 Indian researchers. The portal also features a Digital Catalogue of indigenously developed technologies and products. I-STEM also hosts the platform for the various City Knowledge and Innovation Clusters, to enhance R&D collaboration and skill development across the country.
The launch was followed by two technical presentations on LabVIEW by experts from National Instruments (NI) who talked about the support that NI provides to users through online videos and other instructional material, and offered to hold detailed training sessions for I-STEM users of LabVIEW. The launch event was attended by participants from across the country.
The details may be found at: https://www.istem.gov.in/latest-info/videos