Course detail

Computers in Experiments

FSI-TPEAcad. year: 2011/2012

The Computers in Experiment course is primarily devoted to hardware problems of the microcomputer application in experiments and to special software products for controlling the devices and virtual instrumentation. In lectures and laboratory measurements students will get acquainted with ports of the microcomputer (COM, LPT), standard interfaces (GPIB, MXI, USB, FireWire), measurement boards and some special electronic circuits (Multiplexer, A/D and D/A converter, Timer and Counter).
Main stress is put on the practical application of these new trends in design and performing the experiment. For the design and realization students will use the multifunction measurement boards and LabVIEW programming environment.

Learning outcomes of the course unit

Performance of the computer-controlled experiment with application of standard interfaces and programming tools. More detailed knowledge of RS232, Centronics a GPIB will enable students to solve some particular tasks. Realization of simple virtual instruments in the LabVIEW environment.


Decimal, binary and hexadecimal number system. Fundamentals of the programming in a programming languages (Pascal, Visual Basic, C). PC hardware.


Not applicable.

Recommended optional programme components

Not applicable.

Recommended or required reading

National Instruments: Instrumentation Ref. and Catalogue, 2012-2017. National Instruments, Austin TX, USA
Kainka B.: Měření, řízení a regulace pomocí PC. BEN - technická literatura, Praha, 2003.
Horák,J.: Hardware. Computer Press, Praha, 2000.
IEE 488 and VXIbus Control, DA and Anal. National Instruments. Austin TX, USA.
Matoušek,D.: USB prakticky. BEN - technická literatura, Praha 2003

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Teaching methods depend on the type of course unit as specified in the article 7 of BUT Rules for Studies and Examinations.

Assesment methods and criteria linked to learning outcomes

The attendance in the labs seminars, handing over reports from labs measurements. Working-out the individual project. The final evaluation considers the individual project (70%) and laboratory reports (30%).

Language of instruction


Work placements

Not applicable.


The aim of the course is to make students acquainted with basic elements of the computer-controlled experiment. After completing the course students should be able to interconnect the instrument and PC through a standard interface and control these instruments by standard programming tools. We will also pay attention to utilization of the serial and parallel ports of the PC for generation and detection of binary signals.

Specification of controlled education, way of implementation and compensation for absences

A teacher checks the attendance on seminars stated in the timetable. The form and the date of the compensation of missed lessons are specified by the teacher.

Classification of course in study plans

  • Programme M2A-P Master's

    branch M-FIN , 2. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory
    branch M-PMO , 2. year of study, winter semester, 4 credits, compulsory

Type of course unit



13 hours, optionally

Teacher / Lecturer


Common principles for application of a computer in the experiment. Draft of the experiment, stimulation of the system, measurement and the record of the response. Analysis, interpretation and presentation of results.
Technical means. D/A and A/D converter, multi-plexer, counter/timer. PC boards for communication with real environment.
Communication between PC and device. Serial and parallel transition of the data, Signals and communication in RS232, CENTRONICS, GPIB (IEEE-488), VXI, MXI,USB, FireWire (IEEE-1394).
Controlling software for the experiment, features and characteristics.
LabVIEW. Components of the system, programming principles. Communication between PC and devices.

Computer-assisted exercise

26 hours, compulsory

Teacher / Lecturer


1. Programming of the RS232 or Centronics in LabVIEW environment.
a) Illumination of the LED diode.
b) Control of the 8bit D/A converter by data lines of Centronics.
2. Measuring system with multifunction measurement board, measurement with multi-meter Metex.
a) Time constant of thermo transducer.
b) Characteristics of photodiode.
c) Charging of the condenser.
3. DAQ and sound boards for signal analysis in LabVIEW.
4. Individual project.