ChipHack EDSAC Challenge – Hebden Bridge 6/9/2017



ChipHack EDSAC Challenge is a workshop spanning two-and-a-half days to introduce a new generation to silicon chip design and the historic EDSAC computer.

This workshop is suited to complete beginners, as well as people who are experienced chip designers.

With modern low cost FPGA boards silicon chip design is accessible to the individual engineer, whether professional, hobbyist or student.

This workshop starts from the basics (a chip design to flash an LED), works through more complex functionality (UART transmitter and receiver) and concludes by bringing up a complete processor.

The workshop will be built around a reimagining of EDSAC (designed by BCS founding President, Prof. Sir Maurice Wilkes) using modern technology. The workshop will use the MyStorm FPGA board, a modern low-cost board for educational use.

Through low cost manufacturing and the availability of low cost FPGAs, more and more devices — particularly in Internet of Things (IoT) — are incorporating custom silicon designs. The goal of ChipHack is to grow a new community of silicon chip designers. In addition, the use of EDSAC will build a new generation who understand the importance of such early computers to modern technology.

In past workshops the processor has been OpenRISC, but for this special event we shall use a reimagining of the EDSAC computer to commemorate the work of BCS founder president, Prof. Sir Maurice Wilkes.

Members of the Computer Conservation Society, who had personal experience of EDSAC, will be giving talks during this event.

As a legacy for the future, all talks will be recorded and a documentary will be produced. These will be made freely available under open source licenses.

Chip Hack EDSAC Challenge is sponsored by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and Computer Conservation Society.

Production by Embecosm.

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.

Please note that delegates under the age of 16 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult.


By Air

Hebden Bridge is served by both Manchester International and Leeds/Bradford airports. Transfer time by train from both is approximately 1.75 hours.

Public Transport

Hebden Bridge station is about half a mile from the centre of town and is well served by trains from Leeds and Manchester and thence to London and all major UK destinations. For timetables and travel planning visit National Rail Enquiries,


A number of taxi companies serve Hebden Bridge. You are advised to call in advance if you wish to be met at the station.

  • Valley Private Hire: +44 (0)1422 844070
  • Hebden Cars: +44 (0)1422 845555

Getting around Hebden Bridge

The town is quite small, so walking is the usual mode of transport. However much of the terrain is very hilly, so be prepared for some exertion if you are planning to explore the area.


Hebden Bridge is a small historic market town, so you won’t find the major hotel chains there, but there are smaller hotels, along together with plenty of B&B and self-catering accommodation, including Hebden Bridge Hostel.

If you are unable to find accommodation in Hebden Bridge, Halifax, Manchester and Leeds are all within commuting distance.


The UK is generally temperate, but well known for the variability of its weather. While September can often be pleasantly warm, it can also serve up autumn gales and rain.

Tourist Information

Useful sources of information for visitors to Hebden Bridge and the Yorkshire region, are found on the following sites:

If you have any questions about ChipHack EDSAC Challenge please ontact Judith Jones,

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