World's Fastest LabVIEW Programmer

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Update for 2019

Participating in the 2019 World's Fastest LabVIEW Programmer was a great experience for me and I want to post more information for those wanting to read about it.

First off, the summary: 

  • Shawn Walpole and Derrick Bommarito were the top contenders in the "LabVIEW Coding Challenge" kiosk at the 2019 NIWeek Expo.
  • Shawn continued on the stage to challenge the 3-year reigning champion, Robert Mortensen
  • After 4 rounds, Shawn Walpole won the competition
  • Because of COVID-19, NI cancelled NIWeek 2020, leaving me to care for the Trophy for an additional year.

Now for the details:

The World's Fastest LabVIEW Programmer competition has been at NI Week for a while now.  I don't know the full history, but the Trophy has the following entries:

2007 Jim Kring 2016 Robert Mortensen
2008-2014 Darren Nattinger 2017 Robert Mortensen
2015 Matthias Baudot 2018 Robert Mortensen
2019 Shawn Walpole    
Darren Nattinger competed an won for a number of years, with Robert Mortensen taking runner up for the majority of those years.  Darren was never actually defeated, but in 2015 decided to stop competing in the event.
The competition consists of 2 parts:
  • A timed trial to complete a series of block diagrams in a way that satisfies specified criteria.  This timed trial is called the "LabVIEW Coding Challenge" on a kiosk in the LabVIEW Zone during NIWeek.  This trial may be entered by anyone as many times as they'd like.  There can be a line of people waiting to use the computer where the trial is administered, so it's best to go to the Expo floor during non-peak hours.  A scoreboard tracks the finishers that have 100% correct answers with the fastest times. 
  • Usually by the third day of NI Week, the top 2 finishers of the LabVIEW Coding Challenge are invited to the NI Week Stage to race to complete up to 5 challenges.  Unlike the kiosk, the 2 finishers don't know what the challenges are ahead of time.  While they compete to be the first to complete each of the challenges to the satisfaction of judges, the hosts of the events critique the challengers and make the event quite entertaining. The winner of the top 2 finishers of the kiosk challenge then goes on to compete against the previous year's champion.  The winner gets to take home the trophy, receive a free-NIWeek pass to defend the title, and of course bragging rights for a year.

This is a competition to see how fast a pre-planned solution can be put in the diagram.  It is a lot of fun, and at NI Week 2019 Derrick and I (and others) collaborated to come up with the fastest time.  In fact, I was third on the time board until Derrick showed me how Auto-Wiring could be used in one of the problems to shave off a bit of time.

The Fastest LabVIEW Programmer challenge has been a fun event for me.  I look forward to participating again in 2021.


Here's a picture of the Trophy:

Trophy2020 (smaller).JPG

My wife is really tired of this as the table centerpiece and my kids wish I'd stop bringing with me everywhere, but I've got to enjoy it while I've got it.