The future of Open Source: silicon chip design for the masses, musical instruments and algorithms as pictures – London 20/10/2016

This year’s BCS OSSG AGM will be held on Thursday 20th October at the BCS HQ, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA from 6:00pm to 8:45pm.

The AGM will be followed by four talks from our student prize winners and from the designers of MyStorm, an ultra-low cost FPGA board.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but?booking is required. Places are limited; please book as soon as possible.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 18:00 as the event will start at 18:15 prompt.

The timetable for the evening will be:

18:00 – Registration & refreshments
18:15 – BCS AGM and election of officers
18.45 – The Light Theremin Project
19:00 – The Next Generation of Open Source Engineers
19:15 – The use of Open Source projects to scaffold the development of new programmers
19:30 – The MyStorm project
20:00 – Sandwiches + networking
20:45 – Close

BCS AGM and election of officers

Non-BCS members are eligible and welcomed on the committee.

At the end of the AGM, winners of the 2015/16 BCS OSSG Project Contest will be presented with their certificates and winners cheques.

More information on the AGM and agenda is available in the AGM announcement.

The Light Theremin Project

Speaker: Chelsea Back, BCS OSSG Project Contest winner in the apprentice category

This talk will look at what the The Light Theremin Project is, and how it has evolved from perfboard to PCB.

Bio: Chelsea Back is a trainee electronics engineer for Open Source and technical communities community, AB Open. She is currently studying towards a HND in Electrical and Electronic engineering and recently became a STEM Ambassador.

The Next Generation of Open Source Engineers

Speaker: Dan Gorringe, BCS OSSG Project Contest winner in the school category.

Dan will talk about the Open Source technology that helps children from 4 years upwards get involved with electronics and computing. He’ll talk about “chiphack for teens”, his design of an FPGA processor, which he presented at CERN and his most recent project, an Open Source 64-core supercomputer built from Pine64 boards for research into energy efficient computing.

The supercomputer will be demonstrated.

Bio: Dan Gorringe is an A Level student at Brockenhurst College. During each summer since 2014 Dan has worked at Embecosm; creating a teenager&s guide to Verilog, a processor implementation and a 64 core cluster computer made from small board computers. As part of his Duke of Edinburgh silver award he is leading a team of fellow participants in running DIY computer bulding workshops for teenagers. Next year he is hoping to attend university to study engineering mathematics.

The use of Open Source projects to scaffold the development of new programmers

Speaker: Luke Roberts, BCS OSSG Project Contest winner in the undergraduate category.

The talk will briefly explain what his project comprised of and how he used existing Open Source software to construct the algorithm visualiser. He will then explain how his programming skills were developed through the close examination and modification of these Open Source softwares. The presentation will stress the benefits of being able to study and adapt professionally written code, allowing students to adopt styling conventions and develop an understanding of how complicated software functions.

Bio: Luke Roberts is currently a second year computer science student at the University of Leeds. Luke&s objective is to use the skills developed during his degree course to pursue a career as a software engineer.

The MyStorm project

In May 2016 after Alan Wood&s FPGA presentation at OSHUG #49, he and Ken Boak joined forces to build an Open Source hardware FPGA development platform to compliment Clifford Wolf&s IceStorm Open Source toolchain. In order to make it generally accessible they set an ambitious retail price target of $30 per board, and so was born project ‘myStorm’.

This is the story of how project myStorm happened, why it was conceived and what it&s aims and purpose are. This journey will also highlight why we need FPGA&s, why they should be opensource and what kind of things become possible with the right combination of hardware and tools. It will also touch on popular memes: ‘Yosys is GCC for hardware’ and ‘Hardware is eating software’.

Bio 1: Ken Boak got his first soldering iron on his 6th birthday, and was introduced to electronics by his father, by constructing crystal sets together. He studied Electronic Engineering at the University of North Wales, Bangor, and then went on to work for BBC Research Department on the then, fledgling HDTV systems. Since leaving the BBC in 1994, Ken has held 10 permanent positions, plus several contract jobs across a wide range of hardware disciplines. Ken still enjoys tinkering with the latest hardware and has interests in FPGAs, soft core processors and educational hardware.

Bio 2: Alan Wood has been working with parallel distributed programming for several decades. His recent work includes smart grids, 3D printers, robotics, automation and biotec diagnostics. His current research is focused on machine learning for embedded applications using Motes on FPGA and emerging ASICs. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE and other opensource communities, as well as a founder of Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace.

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