LabVIEW Champions Directory

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LabVIEW Champion: Christian Altenbach


Name: Christian Altenbach


Home: Venice, CA


Programming Languages: LabVIEW, Fortran


Certification: CLD


Used LabVIEW Since: LabVIEW 4.0, (~1996)




Applications Areas:

We are doing basic research, mainly EPR spectroscopy and site directed spin labeling to investigate protein structure and molecular structural changes during function. One focus is the light receptor protein Rhodopsin. We have written many peer reviewed publications and reviews.



In 1985, I received my PhD in Biophysics (Biozentrum, University of Basel, Switzerland) and then came to the US as a postdoc. Now, I am a research scientist in the Department of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles. In 1996 it became necessary to replace our old Nicolet 1280 computers that controlled the EPR spectrometers with a PC based solution. After attending a LabVIEW product demo, we got LabVIEW 4.0 and a few DAQ cards and I wrote the acquisition program while learning LabVIEW at the same time. Everything immediately worked as designed and these instruments were controlled for 20 years by the same old 120MHz Pentiums running the original applications built under LabVIEW 4.0. For reasons of hardware obsolence The application was recently adapted to run on an sbRIO instead, still keeping most of the code and UI intact. 

My computing background goes back to the early seventies with punch cards and Fortran IV. After becoming familiar with LabVIEW, I immediately saw the inherent power, elegance and beauty of graphical programming. Over the years many LabVIEW programs have been written, ranging from simple post processing, lineshape simulation, time domain processing, network monitoring, 3D modeling, publication quality graphics, to complex Levenberg-Marquardt fitting of multicomponent lineshapes with dozens of parameters. I have completely rewritten the Levenberg marquardt routines to allow global fitting of multiple multidimensional data sets and runtime selection of fitting parameters. Many of my programs take advantage of the inherent parallelism of LabVIEW and scale beautifully with the number of CPU cores. For example my spectral fitting program runs 17x faster on a dual 8 core XEON machine when allowed to use all cores. I use LabVIEW every day for any needed computing task and would never go back to text based programming.


User Groups:

I attend LVUGs at UCLA, but they have been rare in the last few years.


Discussion Groups:

Mostly NI discussion Forums. I am also a member of OpenG and LAVA.



My public LabVIEW programs. (These are not of general interest)

My Google Scholar Profile (Contains most of my scientific publications).



NI Week Presentations:

  • 2006: Jim Nagle, Christian Altenbach. Applied Curve fitting in LabVIEW.
  • 2007: Jim Nagle, Christian Altenbach. Applied Curve fitting in LabVIEW.
  • 2012: Christian Altenbach. Parallelizing the Unparallelizable.
  • 2016: Christian Altenbach, Ed Dickens. Code Optimization and Benchmarking
  • 2017: Christian Altenbach. Solving the inverse problem in LabVIEW
  • 2018: Christian Altenbach. Tuning and detailing LabVIEW code for efficiency and beauty
  • 2019: Christian Altenbach. <stay tuned!>


Selected Publications (where LabVIEW is mentioned):

  • Christian Altenbach, K. -J. Oh, R. Trabanino, K. Hideg and W. Hubbell. Estimation of inter-residue distances in spin labeled proteins at physiological temperatures: experimental strategies and practical limitations. Biochemistry. 2001 40:15471-15482.
  • Christian Altenbach, Wojciech Froncisz, Roy Hemker, Hassane Mchaourab and Wayne L. Hubbell. Accessibility of Nitroxide Side Chains: Absolute Heisenberg exchange Rates from Power Saturation EPR. Biophys J. 2005 89:2103-2112.
  • Christian Altenbach, Ana Karin Kusnetzow, Oliver Ernst, K. Peter Hofmann, Wayne L. Hubbell. High-resolution distance mapping in rhodopsin reveals the pattern of helix movement due to activation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 2008, 105:7439-7444