Archives: Events

Inaugural London RISC-V meetup

This was the inaugural London meetup for the RISC-V community, hosted by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and the UK Open Source Hardware User Group.  As with the other UK meetups, we provided an opportunity to share the latest ideas around the RISC-V ecosystem, combined with plenty of time for networking. However unlike other meetups, the London meetup had a specific focus on the open source aspects of RISC-V.

Note. Because of the impending BCS London office move, the venue was moved to the Watson-Watt room at the IET in Savoy Place, 4 minutes walk away.

At this evening meeting we had three talks on the OpenHW group, the LowRISC project and the XCrypt instruction set extension.  The talks are now available on our YouTube channel

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - London RISC-V Meetup

Tea/coffee will be served from 5:30pm, with talks starting at 6:00pm. Each talk will last 20-30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions, after which there will be opportunity to network both in the IET  and later at the Coal Hole pub over the road.

We shall be livestreaming and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube via GoToWebinar. To register for live streaming visit:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

The LowRISC project

Alex Bradbury, @asbradbury

Alex talked about lowRISC, a non-profit community interest company, using collaborative engineering to develop and maintain open source silicon designs and tools.  Their expertise includes processor and SoC design, with a particular focus on hardware security, design verification, RISC-V tools, and the LLVM compiler.

Alex Bradbury is a Co-founder and Director of the lowRISC project. You may also be familiar with his LLVM work, and the LLVM Weekly newsletter. 

Open Source Processor IP for High Volume Production – the CORE-V Family
of RISC-V cores

Rick O’Connor, @rickoco

This session provides a brief overview of the RISC-V instruction set architecture and to describe the CORE-V family of open-source cores that implement the RISC-V ISA.  RISC-V (pronounced “risk-five”) is an open, free ISA enabling a new era of processor innovation through open standard collaboration.  Born in academia and research, RISC-V ISA delivers a new level of free, extensible software and hardware freedom on architecture, paving the way for the next 50 years of computing design and innovation.

CORE-V is a series of RISC-V based open-source processor cores with associated processor subsystem IP, tools and software for electronic system designers under the governance of the OpenHW Group.  The CORE-V family provides quality core IP in line with industry best practices in both silicon and FPGA optimized implementations.  These cores can be used to facilitate rapid design innovation and ensure effective
manufacturability of production SoCs.

Rick O’Connor is Executive Director of OpenHW

The XCrypt instruction set extension

Ben Marshall

Secure and efficient execution of cryptographic workloads is essential for any modern computer architecture. Particularly as more and more resource constrained devices need to communicate securely in potentially adversarial environments.  This talk will discuss some problems with the base RISC-V ISA from a cryptographic point of view, and how they can be improved.  Specifically we describe our work on XCrypto: a custom extension for general purpose cryptography, aimed at embedded RISC-V processors.

Ben Marshall is a Research Associate on the SCARV project.


At this evening meeting in London, we’ll have two talks with five speakers on Makerspaces.  This is a joint meeting with the UK Open Source Hardware User Group.

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - Makerspaces

Tea/coffee will be served from 6pm, with the meeting starting at 6:30pm. Each talk will last 45 minutes and include plenty of time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We shall be livestreaming and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube via GoToWebinar. To register for live streaming visit:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Setting up and running an interdisciplinary makerspace

Dr Jenny Molloy, Tony Naggs and Anne-Pia Marty

Jenny, Tony and Anne-pia will talk about setting up and running an interdisciplinary makerspace, based in their experience at Biomakespace Cambridge.  They’ll look at how you set up a community lab in a biotechnology hotspot, and engage in open science internationally.

Dr Jenny Molloy is a co-founder director of Biomakespace Cambridge and a Shuttleworth Fellow. She is coordinator of OpenPlant and the Synthetic Biology Strategic Research Initiative at the University of Cambridge.

Tony Naggs is a software architect by profession, and helped set up Biomakespace Cambridge, with a particular interest in its inter-disciplinary work. He serves on the Biomakespace committee.

Anne-Pia Marty is Biomaker Challenge Africa Coordinator at the University of Cambridge, and an active contributor to Biomakespace Cambridge.

Some critical reflections on makerspaces and making, and their role in wider society

Dr Laura James and Adrian McEwen

Laura James is co-founder and former director of Cambridge Makespace.

Adrian McEwen is co-founder and director of DoES Liverpool.

Women in Open Source

At this evening meeting in London, we’ll be welcoming three women, all of whom are pursuing a career in open source.  This is a joint meeting with BCS Women and the UK Open Source Hardware User Group.

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - Women in Open Source

Tea/coffee will be served from 6pm, with the meeting starting at 6:30pm. Each talk will last 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions. We look forward to seeing you there.

We shall be livestreaming via GoTomeeting.

Please join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone:

You can also dial in using your phone:

United Kingdom (Toll Free): 0 800 389 5276 
United Kingdom: +44 20 3713 5011 
Access Code: 543-255-269 

New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:

We shall also video the talks for later posting on YouTube for those who are unable to make it.

Prototyping Wearables with Open Source

Rain Ashford, Goldsmiths University

In this presentation will discuss how open source hardware and its communities aided me in the pursuit of creating wearable technology, which led to me returning to academia and doctoral research. I will share some of my research into responsive and emotive wearable technology including examples of prototypes and research into audiences, which focused on the preferences of women users.

I am a creative technologist, designer and researcher working in the field of wearable technology. My PhD research investigated how wearables can be used to create new forms of nonverbal communication using physiological and environmental data. This research was selected for a Convocation Trust Student Entrepreneur Award and I was a finalist in EPSRC’s UK ICT Pioneers Competition. I have presented and exhibited my work extensively in the UK and internationally in Europe, Asia and USA. Previously I worked at the BBC where I was a senior producer and technologist, co-running the BBC’s open innovation project, BBC Backstage. I also organise events and workshops on technology topics including wearables, gaming and diversity, for example I was organiser of the BBC Women in Technology group and Women In Computing Mentor at Goldsmiths.

Starting out in open source

Pietra F T Madio, Brockenhurst College

Pietra F. T. Madio is a sixth form student from Brazil at Brockenhurst College. She has been working as an intern for Embecosm since November 2018. Pietra is currently undertaking research and implementation of neural networks using Keras and TensorFlow. She’s working towards progressing to university to study Computer Science.

A more inclusive way of looking at open source projects

Professor Cornelia Boldyreff, University of Greenwich

In this talk, I shall talk about a recent PhD I examined, “Episodic Volunteering in Open Source” by Ann Barcomb.

Cornelia Boldyreff lives in Greenwich and is a Visiting 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.

Machines and systems of past, present, future –

For those unable to be present in person the meeting will be recorded and also live streamed over GoToMeeting:

You can also dial in using your phone.
United Kingdom (Toll Free): 0 800 031 4727
United Kingdom: +44 330 221 0097

Access Code: 773-947-021

GoToMeeting system check:

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 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.



  • 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) — Slides
  • Session: 
    • 10:00 — Using AWS Cloud for ML — Neil Mackin (Amazon) — Slides
    • 10:30 — Intro to ML in the Google Cloud using Keras — Marc Cohen (Google) — Online Slides
    • 11:00 — Machine Learning and Big Scientific Data — Jeyan Thiyagalingam (UKRI)
    • 11:30 — RAPIDS: GPU Powered Machine Learning — Miguel Martinez (NVIDIA) — Slides
  • 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) — Slides
    • 13:30 — Machine Learning of I/O behavior — Eugen Betke (DKRZ) — Slides
    • 14:00 — Integration of autonomous and human-driven cars — Ekene Ozioka (University of Reading) — Slides
    • 14:30 — Adaptive Learning Machines — Varun Ohja (University of Reading) — Slides
  • 15:00 — Coffee
  • Session:
    • 15:30 — Deep learning in weather and climate — Peter Düben (ECMWF) — Slides
    • 16:00 — Deep Learning Atmospheric Features — Daniel Galea (University of Reading) — Slides
    • 16:15 — Curating big and small data: possibilities for understanding buildings in use — Hiral Patel (University of Reading) — Slides
    • 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) — Slides
  • 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.