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Machines and systems of past, present, future –

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Open Source AI – April 2019

A full-day Open Source AI workshop




Artificial intelligence will reach human levels by around 2029. Follow that out further to, say, 2045, we will have multiplied the intelligence, the human biological machine intelligence of our civilization a billion-fold.” — Ray Kurzweil

Artificial intelligence promises to aid and augment humans in all facets of our life. As the decisions made by an intelligent system may have wide implications, ethical questions must be resolved as the technology development progresses. Open RD&E can help to increase the trust and reduce the risks.

In this workshop, we have a twofold goal:

  1. bring together scientists, users, and vendors to talk about open source platforms and models for artificial intelligence.
  2. discuss socially relevant use cases and challenges and how they are addressed with AI.

The full-day workshop is structured into two sections, a morning and afternoon workshop session that will be a deep dive into domain challenges, platforms, and approaches to tackle these issues. We will have enough time for discussions and networking between the peers.
We will have a series of talks each followed by a short Q&A.



A tentative agenda:

  • 09:30 — Welcome coffee
  • 09:45 — Welcome address — Julian Kunkel (University of Reading), Giuseppe Di Fatta (Head of Department, Department of Computer Science, University of Reading)
  • Session: 
    • 10:00 — Using AWS Cloud for ML — Neil Mackin (Amazon)
    • 10:30 — Intro to ML in the Google Cloud using Keras — Marc Cohen (Google)
    • 11:00 — Machine Learning and Big Scientific Data — Jeyan Thiyagalingam (UKRI)
    • 11:30 — Open source ML toolkit RAPIDS — Miguel Martinez (NVIDIA)
  • 12:00 — Lunch 
  • Session: Applications and use cases for AI
    • 13:00 — The importance of AI for high-performance I/O — Julian Kunkel (University of Reading)
    • 13:30 — Machine Learning of I/O behavior — Eugen Betke (DKRZ)
    • 14:00 — Integration of autonomous and human-driven cars — Ekene Ozioka (University of Reading)
    • 14:30 — AI in Production: Challenges and how we made it work — Yingzhao Zhou (Oracle)
  • 15:00 — Coffee
  • Session: 
    • 15:30 — Deep learning in weather and climate — Peter Düben (ECMWF)
    • 16:00 — Deep Learning Atmospheric Features — Daniel Galea (University of Reading)
    • 16:15 — Curating big and small data: possibilities for understanding buildings in use — Hiral Patel (University of Reading)
    • 16:30 — Open source software for Deep Learning — Huizhi Liang (University of Reading)
    • 17:00 — From Academic Research into Open Source Products — Andy Hind (Oracle)
  • 17:30 — Networking coffee
  • 18:30 — Adjourn



Registration is necessary for our planning, please register as soon as possible if you want to attend the lunch. It is possible to register for the sessions morning and afternoon independently.

Deadline for registration with lunch is March 20th.

Eventbrite - Open Source AI - Open Source SG



The workshop will take place in Room 185 (1st floor), Polly Vacher, Computer Science Department, University of Reading.

That is Building number 38 (in D4) on the University of Reading map right next to the “Pepper Lane” entrance.

Funding Open Source

An evening meeting, where we will hear three speakers (Andrew Davies, Irina Bolychevsky and Ben Nickolls)  on how to fund open source projects and businesses. This is a joint meeting with BCS Entrepreneurs, BCS Young Professionals Group, BCS Women and the UK Open Source Hardware User Group. Full details on the Event Page.

Each talk will last 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions.

Open Source Security

This event is hosted by Cheltenham and Gloucester BCS and starts at the later time of 7pm. The evening features two talks on the theme of open source security

There is no booking for this event, please just turn up at the venue. The talks will be recorded, but we regret no live-streaming will be available on this occasion.

SCARV: a side-channel hardened RISC-V platform

Speaker: Dr Dan Page, University of Bristol


SCARV is an EPSRC funded research project [1], housed at the University of Bristol within the national RISE initiative [2]. At a high level, the remit of SCARV spans computer architecture and cryptography: it aims to harness RISC-V [3] as a way to address challenges in efficient, secure implementation of cryptography.

This talk will cover 2 in-progress directions within SCARV, emphasising their use of and relationship with open source software and hardware.

  1. RISC-V is, by design, an easily extensible ISA: it is possible to adapt and/or extend the ISA to suit specific use-cases. We have developed an extension called XCrypto [4], which is intended to support software implementations of cryptography. By using some concrete examples, I will try to illustrate a) the design and implementation of XCrypto, and b) what value the extension provides.
  2. Implementation (e.g., side-channel [5]) attacks are are persistent threat to cryptography, particularly in embedded contexts such as IoT; robust security evaluation wrt. such attacks is therefore important. For certain classes of implementation attack, the infrastructure involved can be prohibitive. I will try to outline our goals and progress regarding the development of “lab. free” infrastructure, in part based on the open source SCALE platform [6].



Speaker bio:

Dr. Daniel Page, is a Lecturer within the Department of Computer Science, University of Bristol. His current research focuses on challenges in cryptographic engineering and applied cryptography, the  implementation (in hardware and/or software) of implementation attacks (e.g., side-channel and fault attacks) on cryptographic primitives and arithmetic in particular.

Over 60 (co-)authored, peer-reviewed publications have resulted from associated work, representing collaboration with industry and academic partners that include 6 (co-)supervised PhD students. The pre-eminent venue for such work is arguably Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems (CHES); Dr. Page received the best paper award at CHES 2012, regularly serves on the CHES Programme Committee, and acted as Program (co-)Chair at CHES 2018. He (co-)founded the spin-out company Identum (with Prof. Smart), which was acquired by Trend Micro in early 2008.

Open source tools and processes for secure IoT development


Developing secure IoT software requires that good software engineering practices are used, and that an appropriate set of secure coding guidelines are followed. Much of the guidance on writing secure software is in common with that for minimising bugs and defects; however, some tasks (such as memory sanitisation, maintaining side-channel atomicity, etc.) are security-specific and are difficult even for experienced engineers to consistently implement.

The compiler is ideally placed to assist, because almost all code for any device goes through a compiler, which translates the program to binary code to run on the processor. This global view of the software can enable the compiler to detect insecure coding patterns and provide automated support for security-specific tasks.

The Innovate UK funded Security Enhancing Compilation for Use in Real Environments (SECURE) project, which ran from June 2017 – September 2018, has taken the latest academic research in security-specific programming techniques and integrated it within the two most widely used compilers, GCC and LLVM. These freely available tools will not “magically” write secure code – however, they make it much easier for engineers to follow good practice and avoid errors by automating the use of security-specific techniques and processes.

This talk will present the technology and show how it supports secure software development processes by reducing the burden placed on engineers who would otherwise have to manually implement security-specific techniques and inspect code for security issues.

This talk is an extended version of the presentation to the IoTSF Conference in December 2018, which will go into greater technical detail. It presents work carried out by Dr Graham Markall, Simon Cook, Paolo Savini and Craig Blackmore as well as the speaker Speaker: Dr Jeremy Bennett

Speaker Biography:

Dr Jeremy Bennett is Chief Executive of Embecosm, which provides open source compiler development, processor modeling and embedded operating system services to companies worldwide. He is author of the standard textbook “Introduction to Compiling Techniques” (McGraw Hill 1990, 1995, 2003) and serves as Chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group.

Open Source Fortran

At this evening meeting in Manchester, we’ll be welcoming two experts in open source Fortran compilation.  This is a joint meeting with the BCS Fortran Specialist Group hosted by BCS Manchester Regional Group.  Venue MMU Business School, 3rd Floor, Room 3.01 (S Atrium), All Saints Campus, Manchester, M15 6BH from 6-8pm.

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - Open Source Fortran

Each talk will last 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We shall be livestreaming (details announced via Twitter on @bcsossg) and videoing the talks for later posting on YouTube for those who are unable to make it.

A Tour of the Flang Fortran Compiler

Kiran Chandramohn

Flang is a Fortran compiler recently open sourced by PGI. Flang generates LLVM IR and benefits from the optimizations implemented in LLVM. It also runs on a variety of hardware. In a short span of time Flang has garnered a lot of interest. It is the frontend for PGI and Arm Fortran Compilers. In this talk I will briefly cover the history of Flang, the open source context, standards conformance, technical details, performance numbers, f18 project and the future roadmap of flang.

Kiran is a Compiler Engineer working at Arm Ltd. He is responsible for the productization of the Arm Fortran Compiler based on open source Flang project. He holds a PhD degree from the University of Edinburgh.

gfortran—the gnu gcc fortran compiler

Paul Thomas

Gfortran is the gnu gcc fortran frontend. It forked from G95 and the first gfortran ChangeLog entry is dated 30th August 2002.  Initially, the aim was to provide a fully compliant F95 compiler with legacy support for G77 features. Once this was achieved, from 2005 onwards, F20xx features were added such that F2018 compliance is within sight.  In addition, gfortran supports many of the non-standard features of the DEC fortran compiler, supports OpenMPv4 and OpenCoarrays.  Gfortran uses its own internal representation for parsing and resolution, which is then translated to gcc’s TREE-SSA.  It benefits from the wide range of targets and optimisation features provided by gcc.  In this talk I will discuss standards conformance, performance and future developments.

Paul is a director of Glyme Consultancy Limited.  He splits his time between controlled fusion and maintaining gfortran.  He holds a PhD degree in theoretical physics from the University of Manchester.

Mentoring & Advocacy in Open Source + AGM

Whilst open source is now more widely accepted, there are still large parts of the engineering community who have yet to “see the light”.  Advocacy remains a key role for all who care about open source, while mentoring helps users to make best use of open source technology.

At this evening meeting in London, we’ll be welcoming leading speakers on this topic.  This is a joint meeting with the UK Open Source Hardware Users Group open to all. It will be preceded by the AGM of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group (a separate email notice will be sent to BCS members).  Venue is the BCS Offices at 5 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HA from 6-8pm.

Each talk will last 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We were livestreaming the talks and posted them on YouTube for those who are unable to make it.

Annual general meeting of the OSSG

The meeting was chaired by Jeremy Bennett. There were no matters arising from the previous AGM minutes which were accepted in full. Jeremy then presented the Chairman’s report.  Presentation as PDF

He was followed by Richard Miller giving the Treasurers.

They were followed by the election of officers for the coming year. The secretary, Cornelia, stood in for the chair who was re-elected by the meeting. Jeremy then resumed the chair and presided over the re-election of the secretary and treasurer. These were duly re-elected.

The new web master was elected and two event organisers were re-elected. Julian Kunkel was elected as Committee member at large and Andrejus Kostarevas was elected as Student Rep. Jeremy thanked the retiring committee members, Andres Baravalle and Andrew Back, for the contributions.

The elections were followed by a presentation of proposed Advocacy Goals for the group by Julian Kunkel.  Presentation as PDF

There was no AOB. The meeting closed and was immediately followed by a regular joint meeting of the OSSG and OSHUG which continued the theme of Advocacy.


Amanda Brock: OpenInventionNetwork

Presentation as PDF



Karen Sandler: Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy helps promote, improve, develop, and defend Free, Libre, and Open Source Software (FLOSS) projects.

Karen M. Sandler (@o0karen0o) is the executive director of Conservancy. Karen is known as a cyborg lawyer for her advocacy for free software, particularly in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation. Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program to support women globally and for people of color who are underrepresented in US tech. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME. Karen is a recipient of the Free Software Foundation’s Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the O’Reilly Open Source Award.

Karen received her law degree from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was a James Kent Scholar and co-founder of the Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. Karen received her bachelor’s degree in engineering from The Cooper Union.

Paul Adams: FSF Europe

Free Software Foundation Europe is a charity that empowers users to control technology.

Software is deeply involved in all aspects of our lives; and it is important that this technology empowers rather than restricts us.  Free Software gives everybody the rights to use, understand, adapt and share software.  These rights help support other fundamental freedoms like freedom of speech, press and privacy.

Paul Adams (@therealpadams) is a co-founder of BCS Open Source SG and its second Chair.  He served as a FSFE Fellow in 2009 and regularly gives presentations on behalf of the FSFE.

Prof Cornelia Boldyref: Advocacy for Women in Open Source

Cornelia Boldyreff (@Cornelia) is a Visiting Professor at the University of Greenwich. She gained her PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Durham.  In 2004 she became the first Professor of Software Engineering at the University of Lincoln, where she co-founded and directed the Centre for Research in Open Source Software.  Cornelia was most recently Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) at the University of East London

She is a founding committee member of the BCSWomen Specialist Group, a committee member of the BCS e-Learning Specialist Group, and from 2013-2017 chaired the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. She has been actively campaigning for more women in STEM throughout her career.  Together with Miriam Joy Morris and Dr Yasmine Arafa, she founded the start-up, ebartex Ltd, and together they are developing a new digital bartering currency, ebarts.

Presentation as PDF


Members’ Lightning Talks

An opportunity to hear about all the open source projects our members are working on. We’ll start with Chris Jones’ talk on Hammerspoon postponed from earlier in the year and then be followed by 8 short talks on the full range of subjects addressed by the Open Source Specialist group.  This is a joint meeting with the UK Open Source Hardware Users Group.  Venue is the BCS Offices at 5 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HA from 6-8pm.

Full details on the Members’ Lightning Talks meeting page.

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - 3D Printing and Making

Chris Jones’ talk will last 30 minutes, with all the subsequent talks lasting no more than 10 minutes including time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We shall be videoing the talks for later posting on YouTube for those who are unable to make it. We also hope to live-stream the talks using gotmeeting – a first for us.

3D Printing and Making

At this evening meeting in London, we return to the popular themes of open source 3D printing and making. We’re delighted to welcome three leading authorities in the field to speak to us: Rachel “Konichiwakitty” Wong, Bracken Dawson and Adrian Bowyer. This is a joint meeting with the UK Open Source Hardware Users Group. Venue is the BCS Offices at 5 Southampton St, London WC2E 7HA from 6-8pm.

Full details on the 3D Printing and Making meeting page.

Each talk will last 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We anticipate this evening may be oversubscribed, so please book promptly. We shall be videoing the talks for later posting on YouTube for those who are unable to make it.