Lightning Talks and AGM

October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
BCS Online Meeting

Join the session on BigBlueButton:

This is out annual lightning talk meeting, where members have the opportunity to speak for 10 minutes on their favourite topic.  The meeting will start with the AGM, which all are welcome to attend.

Please register using the link above for a free ticket.

In a first for the BCS, we shall be livestreaming using the open source platform BigBlueButton. We hope this will prove a much richer online experience, particularly for those joining from non-Windows platforms. We shall have a GoToMeeting link available as backup in case of teething problems.  We shall later be posting the videos on our YouTube channel for those who are unable to make it.


Everyone is welcome to attend, but only BCS members may vote. We will have the brief reports on the past year’s activities and then elect a new committee. Note: non-BCS members may stand for all committee posts except Chair, Treasurer and Membership secretary. So far we have the following nominations, but more are encouraged.

  • Chair: Jeremy Bennett
  • Treasurer: Richard Miller
  • Membership secretary/Advocacy and outreach: Julian Kunkel
  • Inclusion officer: Cornelia Boldyreff
  • Web supremo: Simon Worthington
  • Events sub-committee: Andy Bennett, Sevan Janyan
  • Young Professional/Student representative: Daniel Broomhead
  • Committee members:  Mary Bennett

Existing committee member standing for re-election

We depend on an active committee to put on all our events and drive our advocacy and outreach work. Please consider putting yourself forward.

Adding an instruction to the GNU assembler

Mary Bennett
Pietra F T Madio, @7pietraferreira
Jessica Mills

Over the past couple of years, RISC-V has taken off in both academia and industry. One RISC-V variant, CORE-V, adds extensions which can greatly improve performance and reduce code size. The speakers are leading the project to develop a full GNU tool chain supporting these instruction extensions.

In this lightning talk, they will look at just one part of this project. How to add a new assembly code instruction to the GNU assembler. They’ll use CORE-V hardware loop as the example for this. You’ll learn which files to edit, how to build the new assembler and most importantly how to test it.

A fuller version of this talk will be given at the London RISC-V Meetup (also hosted by BCS Open Source SG) on Monday 19 October, which will look a the complete tool chain. More information can be found in the Open Hardware Group repositories for corev-binutils-gdb and corev-gcc on GitHub.

Mary Bennett is a tool chain engineer at Embecosm, developers of open source compilers, operating systems, models and AI.  She graduated from the University of Surrey with a degree in EEE and a love of Jui Jitsu and climbing.  Mary is best know for her work as Chair of the RISC-V Academia and Training group from 2018 to early 2020. She was winner of the UK Electronic Skills Foundation Scholar of the Year 2019.  Mary is a key engineer in the RISC-V CGEN project and CORE-V Binutils-GDB and GCC projects, and can be found on YouTube speaking on these subjects at numerous conferences over the past three years.

Pietra F. T. Madio moved to the UK from Brazil and has been working as a software engineer for Embecosm since November 2018. Pietra was previously undertaking research and implementation of neural networks using Keras and TensorFlow. She has also written a series of blog posts on implementing face recognition on the Google Coral development board. She currently is a key engineer at the CORE-V Binutils-GDB and GCC project, being the project manager for Binutils-GDB.  Pietra previously presented at the BCS as part of the 2019 Women in Open Source meeting and also spoke at the OSD Forum 2020 about her work on the Core-V Binutils-GDB project.

Jessica Mills is a Software Tool Chain Engineer at Embecosm, developers of open source compilers, operating systems, models and AI. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a masters degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering.  Jessica is a key engineer in both the CORE-V Binutils-GDB and GCC projects, being the project manager for GCC. She has previously presented this work at the OSD Forum 2020.

XO and Sugar on a stick

Professor Cornelia Boldyreff

Cornelia Boldyreff lives in Greenwich and is a part-time Professor at the University of Greenwich in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. She was previously the Associate Dean (Research and Enterprise) at the School of Architecture, Computing and Engineering at the University of East London from 2009 – February 2013.

Cornelia gained her PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Durham where she worked from 1992; she was a Reader in the Computer Science Department when she left.
In 2004 she moved to the University of Lincoln to become the first Professor of Software Engineering at the university, where she co-founded and directed the Centre for Research in Open Source Software.

She has over 25 years’ experience in software engineering research and has published extensively on her research in the field. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a founding committee member of the BCSWomen Specialist Group, a committee member of the BCS e-Learning Specialist Group, and since 2013 she has 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.

The HPC Certification Forum: An Open and Free Certification for HPC – A Good Model for OSS?

Dr Julian Kunkel

The diversification of High-Performance Computing (HPC) practitioners challenges the traditional training approaches, which are not able to satisfy the specific needs of users, often coming from non-traditionally HPC disciplines and only interested in learning a particular set of skills. HPC practitioners are expected to have various HPC skills, however, those “skills” have not been well-defined until now. The ability to speak a common language – among HPC educators and users – is critical.

The HPCCF strives to identify this set of competencies for HPC users. It is our aim to thereby facilitate course offers across HPC sites and to provide a certification procedure for HPC practitioners. Ultimately, we aim for the certificates to be recognized and respected by the HPC community and industry. In the competence standard, we already have many open-source skills as open source fuels HPC sytems. We believe this model is scalable and could be applied more in the open-source environment.

Dr Kunkel is a Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Reading. He manages several research projects revolving around high-performance computing (HPC) and particularly high-performance storage. He became interested in the topic of HPC storage in 2003, during his studies of computer science.  Julian serves as Membership Secretary and Advocacy and Outreach officer for the BCS Open Source SG.

An Insight into Open Source from a Student’s Perspective.

Daniel Broomhead

The introduction of open source to young people has always been a major downfall for the progression of open source, with young people wanting to get involved with software like Linux but never knowing where to start and how to get involved. Daniel Discusses the experience he had with open source and where he thinks the future need to be heading in order to incorporate the younger generations, reflecting on some of the complications of the past and some reasons why the younger generations struggle to get involved as early as they could have.

Daniel Broomhead is a final year Computer Science Student at the university of Reading. He is the current president of the University’s R. U. Hacking? Society which is a computer Science society with a focus around integrating with a tech and professional environment, including hosting, and running many events like Hackathons.

Daniel is curious about all different areas of computer science and always keen to learn more, however his current passion lies in the cyber security side of things, particularly offensive security, and while he is lacking the current experience and expertise, this is his main focus for the future, and his topic chosen for his final year project.

PCI bus hacking from home – how hard can it be?

Maxim Blinov

Digital protocols are the bread and butter of virtually every electronic engineer today. UART, SPI, I2C, USB, PCIe, the list goes on. But it’s very rarely that we get the opportunity to actually implement one such protocol ourselves.

This project was an excercise to take the role of implementing a protocol, given all the usual limited constraints of a hobbyist operating from home: Create a very simple (but functional) conventional (33MHz) PCI endpoint, visible from Linux, and capable of transferring data from internal FPGA LUTs to Linux Userspace.

The project touched on aspects of FPGA design, design verification, physical debugging approaches, and just a dash (and I really mean just a dash!) of linux kernel modification.

Maxim Blinov is a toolchain engineer working at Embecosm, supporting and customizing GCC toolchains for client-specific architectures and architecture extensions. His main open source work has been benchmarking and customizing the upcoming RISC-V bitmanip extension.

In his free time he dabbles in MCUs, FPGAs, softcore CPUs, and Windows driver development.

A Minimalist Network on Chip on an FPGA

Richard Miller

This is an ongoing project to implement an FPGA NoC (network on chip) which is “as simple as possible but no simpler”. Originally intended as a lightweight alternative to ethernet for linking a cluster of Raspberry Pi Zeroes, it can also serve as the internal communication fabric for a multicore SoC (system on chip).

Richard Miller is a consulting engineer specialising in systems software (operating systems and programming language implementation) and digital logic design. He serves as Treasurer of the BCS Open Source SG.

12 things everyone needs to know about data

Simon Worthington, @51M0NW

In this talk, Simon will give a “Papers We Love”–style walkthrough of a favourite scientific paper from the University of Southampton and the Open Data Institute. Much open data publishing is focused on the act of getting data out of the door safely and correctly, and not many people focus on actually helping others to find and evaluate their datasets. This paper examines the way people search for open data and suggests a 12-point checklist for what potential users need to know that everyone can implement.

Simon is a founder of Register Dynamics, a data consultancy on a mission to make data more useful for everyone, and the creators of As a technologist with years of experience applying cutting-edge data technology to meet real user needs, Simon gets that data is hard. Tell him your data problems on Twitter @RegDyn!