LabVIEW has certainly made life easier for Gary, the engineer. By the end of the year, I had taken the LabVIEW class and started on my first project, a simple data acquisition system. It was like watching the sun rise. There were so many possibilities now with this easy and fun-to-use programming language. I actually started looking for things to do with it around the lab (and believe me, I found them). It was such a complete turnaround from the old days. Within a year, LabVIEW became an indispensable tool for my work in instrumentation and control. Now my laboratories are not just computerized, but also automated. A computerized experiment or process relies heavily on the human operatorsthe computer makes things easier by taking some measurements and doing simple things like that, but it's far from being a hands-off process. In an automated experiment, on the other hand, you set up the equipment, press the Start button on the LabVIEW screen, and watch while the computer orchestrates a sequence of events, takes measurements, and presents the results. That's how you want your system to work, and that's where LabVIEW can save the day. Let's start by taking a look at the world of automation.