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Six researchers share their ideas for improving representation.
Virginia Gewin is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon.

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Many research institutions have made efforts to increase diversity among their administrations, faculty and staff members and student bodies. But research shows there is work to be done — and that the pay-off is immense . A 2017 study of 40 US public universities, for example, found that black, Hispanic and female science-faculty members continue to be under-represented relative to the US population ( D. Li and C. Koedel Educ. Res. 46 , 343–354; 2017 ).

Besides honing their strategies to draw more women and people of ethnic-minority groups, some organizations are also expanding opportunities for people from economically disadvantaged areas and those with physical disabilities, as well as trying to better represent people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Nature spoke to six people on the front lines of diversity efforts for insights into what works.

BRYAN GAENSLER: Beware biases Director, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Toronto, Canada.

I started paying attention to this issue in the early 2000s while on a graduate admissions committee — which was 100% men — for Harvard University’s astronomy programme in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We found that when we ranked candidates on what we thought was purely merit, the applicants we chose as best were all men. But a female colleague pointed out that the lack of diversity on our panel had surely had a role. It was a huge eye-opener. I hadn’t yet read the research on unconscious bias. It had never occurred to me that well-meaning people can discriminate. I’ve spent the past 15 years studying that research, so I can put in place equitable recruiting practices.

> Company > > News Release

NI Introduces FieldDAQ™: A New Era in Rugged, Distributed Data Acquisition

FieldDAQ takes T ime Sensitive Networking to the harshest test cell and outdoor environments.

AUSTIN, Texas – December 12, 2017 – NI (Nasdaq: NATI), the provider of platform-based systems that enable engineers and scientists to solve the world’s greatest engineering challenges, announced today the rugged, distributed and synchronized FieldDAQ devices.

The growing sophistication of complex electromechanical systems, such as vehicles, aircraft and industrial equipment, means that validation test must become more rigorous to keep pace with innovation. The automotive industry in particular faces strict requirements from evolving government standards and rising customer expectations for new features such as advanced driver assistance. To help ensure the safety, reliability and quality of these systems, acquiring accurate data during testing is fundamental.

To meet these needs, test engineers are moving away from centralized measurement systems that can be susceptible to noise, and toward distributed measurement nodes, in which the digitization and signal conditioning occurs as close to the sensors as possible. Yet more distributed measurement topologies create new challenges. Not only must DAQ devices withstand harsh test environments, they must also acquire synchronized data over an entire system and scale and integrate seamlessly.

NI’s new FieldDAQ devices are the most rugged NI DAQ devices ever created; they can acquire accurate, reliable measurements in the most severe test cell and outdoor environments, including rain, sleet, snow or mud. FieldDAQ devices have an ingress protection rating up to IP67 (dust and water resistant), can operate in -40 °C to 85 °C environments and can sustain 100 g shock and 10 g vibration.

These rugged DAQ devices are built on the flexible and configurable hardware and software platforms that NI is known for, which sets them apart. With open and expandable FieldDAQ solutions, test engineers can keep pace with product design cycles and help reduce the overall cost of test, as opposed to the limitations of existing devices with functionality defined by closed, proprietary software.

“Due to rapid production cycles, no one test is the same,” said Mark Yeager, engineer / lead programmer at Integrated Test and Measurement. “Design engineers tweak the size, performance and efficiency of each component, so our test setups must evolve to meet these requirements. To reduce cost, we must be able to maximize hardware and software reuse, while still adapting to changing requirements.”

FieldDAQ also incorporates Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) , the next evolution of the IEEE 802.1 Ethernet standard, providing extremely tight synchronization over a distributed network of DAQ nodes without additional cabling or complex programming. FieldDAQ expands the NI TSN product offering, joining Industrial Controllers, CompactDAQ and CompactRIO. Additionally, because it incorporates TSN, FieldDAQ is capable of being used with third-party TSN solutions from major industrial I/O and control vendors like Bosch Rexroth, BR Automation and Schneider Electric.

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