Module information on this degree can be found below, separated by year of study.

The module information below applies for the current academic year. The academic year runs from August to July; the 'current year' switches over at the end of July.

Students select optional courses subject to rules specified in the Mechanical Engineering Student Handbook,  for example at most three Design and Business courses. Please note that numbers are limited on some optional courses and selection criteria will apply.

Interfacing and Data Processing

Module aims

The overall aim is to introduce methods of computer interfacing of industrial or scientific instruments and data processing for monitoring and control of engineering processes. You will be able to:

  1. Introduce data processing methods for industrial processes and explain their purpose
  2. Introduce computer interfacing methods for instruments and sensors
  3. Provide hands-on experience with LabVIEW software, an industrial standard for monitoring and control
  4. Describe experimental methods for Thermofluids applications
  5. Examine the purpose and type of measurements required in Thermofluids applications.

The course is designed for students who develop an interest in instrumentation and sensors for process control. A key aspect of the course will be practical applications of computer interfacing and data processing based on LabVIEW software, which is an industry standard for such applications. A Thermofluids application will be considered as a case study. The principles of current optical and probe instrumentation for Thermofluids applications, the need for such measurements and the physical meaning of information obtained from different data processing methods will be described. A computer program will be developed in the LabVIEW environment, which will be applied to a laboratory experiment.

ECTS units: 5

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing this module, students will be able to:

  • Describe applications of — and methods for — computer interfacing of instruments and processing of the recorded data, with special reference to Thermofluids applications
  • Select an appropriate data acquisition device for instrumenting an industrial process
  • Devise an appropriate and effective strategy for processing data
  • Appraise the data yielded by such a strategy
  • Interface laboratory instruments to a computer using LabVIEW software

Module syllabus

  • Data processing: data sampling of random variables; probability density function - definition and examples (e.g. Gaussian PDF); mean and standard deviation and estimates of statistical uncertainties; higher moments for the probability density function; correlation; measurement of auto- and covariance; autocorrelation and cross-correlation functions; power spectrum; measurement of power spectrum, folding and aliasing; frequency resolution and leakage.
  • Computer interfacing: introduction to computer interfacing; parallel digital interfacing; direct memory access (DMA); introduction to analog-to-digital conversion; hardware overview; selection criteria.
  • Experimental methods and measurements for thermofluids applications: introduction to measurement needs; measured quantities and physical meaning; HotWire velocimetry; laser Doppler velocimetry.
  • Introduction to LabVIEW graphical programming: each student developes LabVIEW based computer program, which is used to obtain measurements in the laboratory experiment and subsequent data processing.


 ME3-mMSD - ME3 Machine System Dynamics or equivalent from elsewhere.

Teaching methods

  • Duration: Autumn term
  • Lecture/Study Groups: After an introduction, the topics are covered in the order given in the syllabus. A half day seminar on LabVIEW software will be given at the beginning of the Autumn Term by staff from National Instruments
  • Tutorials: Tutorial sessions are arranged as a part of the lectures during the Autumn Term, which will assist students to develop their computer program.
  • Projects: The project will involved developing a computer program,  based on LabVIEW software, to acquire data and subsequently process them accordingly. The developed software will be used to obtain measurements in a laboratory experiment before the end of the Autumn Term. A final project report together with the program will be submitted at the end of the Autumn Term. The final report will be assessed after the end of the coure.

Summary of student timetabled hours








Other (design, lab, computing etc.)




Expected private study time

4-5 hrs per week, plus exam revision


Written examinations:  title, duration and rubric

Date (approx.)

Max. mark

Pass mark

Interfacing & Data Processing (3h)

A Data and Formulæ book is provided.

This is an OPEN BOOK Examination.

April/ May




Coursework submissions (including progress tests, oral presentations etc.)

Submission date

Max. mark

Pass mark

Report for project and lab experiment

Date close to the end of January





Module leaders

Professor Yannis Hardalupas