LabVIEW Intro & FPGA Hands-On Workshop 1

by Adriaan Rijllart, Odd Oyvind Andreassen (CERN)



What is this for?

This 2 x 2h workshop focuses on the use of LabVIEW and FPGAs for scientific purposes. No prior knowledge is assumed. The workshop is aimed at scientists, engineers and students located at CERN.

What will you learn?

In this training you will learn the basics of a graphical programming language called LabVIEW and how to use it with an FPGA and ARM processor module called myRIO (Reconfigurable Input Output). You will learn that FPGA programming is not that complicated and not that different from programming a standard CPU when using LabVIEW.

Why is it interesting?

LabVIEW allows rapid prototyping, rapid adaptation to new requirements and making robust systems in combination with industrial hardware. It avoids many of the difficulties to program an FPGA, for instance to define the parallelism and synchronisation, and the need to learn special languages, such as VHDL, Vivado and Verilog. 

How is it different from e.g. Python or C?

LabVIEW is data driven (and not command driven), which enables parallel execution. This is of particular interest for FPGA programming. Objects (functions) are connected with wires (data) to define the algorithms, in analogy to a schematic diagram of an electronic circuit or a block diagram of a system.

Who uses it?

SpaceX for their launch pad for the Falcon rocket and Dragon spacecraft. Microsoft to test their Xbox controllers. Foxconn for their iPhone assembly lines. Duke Energy for monitoring their electrical networks. There are many others, too.


Each workshop is limited to 9 attendees as in line with the new COVID-19 regulations. Required software and MyRIO FPGA modules will be provided, but you are asked to bring along your own laptop (if not possible, please indicate this in the registration form). Like best things in CERN, it is free or charge.

Install before attending

To prepare for the hands-on, you need to install LabVIEW 2019 SP1 32-bit and then the add-ons below. Do this a few day before the workshop, so you have time to fix unforeseen installation problems. This is what you should install on a PC or on a Windows partition using VirtualBox on Mac:

Start with downloading the package manager:

LabVIEW and drivers

• LabVIEW 2019 SP1 32-bit

and then

• LabVIEW RT module

• LabVIEW FPFA module

• PXI platform services

untick others, except NI certificates installer

Some dependencies will be installed too



• LabVIEW myRIO Toolkit

not the other 2

Then accept the proposed list.

It takes quite some time to install. For the Xilinx compiler (for FPGA) we will use the NI cloud compiler, to avoid a very big installation. You need a create a user account on (I guess with a CERN email. I haven’t tried it with a non CERN email.)

To use the NI FPGA cloud compile service

Create an account on

Start LabVIEW and go to the Tools -> Options -> FPGA Module

tick: Connect to LabVIEW FPGA Compile Cloud Service

Enter your account here and Configure, enter password and Test Connection. I hope all will be fine.


The dates are as follows, and workshops are filled in the order of registrations:

Workshop 1: July 15 (16.00-18.00) & July 16 (16.00-18.00)

Workshop 2: October 11 (16.00-18.00) & October 14 (16.00-18.00).

The workshops will be run by Adriaan Rijllart and Odd Øyvind Andreassen, and it will be held using Zoom in July and hopefully in IdeaSquare in October.

Laura Wirtavuori