Archives: Events

OpenChain UK Work Group Inaugural Meeting

BCS Open Source SG has long supported the OpenChain initiative. Most recently we co-hosted a workshop in 2018 with BCS Law SG looking at issues around the Open Source supply chain.

We are pleased to support the inaugural meeting of the OpenChain UK Work Group, which is open to all with an interest in the integrity of Open Source supply chains.  The event is being curated by Orcro Limited supported by Arm.



An Evening on the theme of FPGAs

Why the J-core open processor is cool

The patents on the bestselling processor of the 1990’s finally expired, and it’s been cloned as open hardware. J-core scales from running SMP Linux down to fitting in a tiny 5000 cell ICE-40 FPGA, and we just uploaded a new open source GPS receiver built around it to github.

Rob Landley maintains the J-core Board Support Package, used to maintain busybox, maintains toybox (the command line utilities used by Android), and used to be the linux kernel documentation maintainer.

Yosys and nextpnr – open source FPGA update

Find out about the newest developments in Yosys and nextpnr, including experimental Xilinx support, synthesis improvements and new place and route algorithms! This talk will also discuss some of the future work
that is planned, with an ambitious target to support 1-million-LUT scale designs on UltraScale+ devices by the end of the year.

David Shah is a self-employed developer working on nextpnr, the open source FPGA place-and-route tool. His previous work also includes Project Trellis, open source bitstream documentation for the Lattice ECP5 FPGAs.

Repurposing Obsolete FPGA-based Products as Development Kits

Commercial FPGA development boards can be relatively cheap or they can have a lot of logic resources and features, but never at the same time.
When commercial products with large FPGAs become obsolete, they can often be found dirt cheap on eBay. With a little bit of effort, some of these products can be reverse engineered and repurposed as generic FPGA development kits. This talk will show some examples, and discuss techniques that can be used to reverse engineer these kind of products.

Tom Verbeure is a hardware engineer at Nvidia where he works on monitor technology. Before Nvidia, he worked on communication ASICs at Barco, Alcatel and Conexant. When he’s not mountain biking in one of the many parks around the SF Bay Area, you can probably find him in his garage, looking through a microscope trying to trace tiny wires on an old PCB, or burning up an LED panel in a misguided attempt to control LED cube with a Cisco WAN modem.

Realising Rewards of Open Data

Open Data is often mentioned alongside its bigger sisters of Open Software and Open Hardware, but so far the movement has not enjoyed as widespead success. But why not? What more could people be getting out of open data that would drive its adoption? In this evening of talks, our speakers make the case for open data and show all the benefits that sharing data openly and widely can bring.

This month we’ll be hosting our evening of talks online. You can join remotely from the comfort of your own home to listen to the speakers and chat in realtime with the other attendees.

18:15 – Join online meeting to chat with other participants
18:30 – Presentations
20:30 – Close

Why Open Data?

Ian Watt

The term Open Data is generally understood to mean data that has been published, often by government, in a neutral format and with a licence that allows re-use. What is less clear are the reasons for opening data: the drivers; the economic and social benefits; the legal obligations and even the moral imperatives. In this short talk Ian Watt will cover these in a way which will not only aid understanding but will help someone to build a case to make their organisation’s data open too.

Ian is a Data Scientist and CEO and co-founder of the charity Code The City which operates Scotland’s only node of the Open Data Institute – ODI Aberdeen. He has been a prominent advocate for Open Data for almost ten years. Until his retirement from local government in 2017 he led the open data programme for Scotland’s seven cities. He recently became the civic society lead for Commitment Three (covering open data and data literacy) for the Open Government Scotland plan. He is on the steering group of Stirling University’s Data Commons research project, and is a non-executive director of Democracy Club, a UK CIC who use open data to improve democratic engagement.

Comparing Open Data With Open Source

Leigh Dodds

What is open data? How has the publishing and use of open data evolved in different communities? And how does it compare to the open source movement?

In this talk Leigh will explore how the open data movement has evolved, how it compares with other “open” approaches and discuss how combining approaches can help to create open, trustworthy data ecosystems.

Leigh is Director of Delivery at the Open Data Institute where he helps to define, lead and deliver a range of projects and programmes to help build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem. Leigh has over 20 years experience in a variety of technology focused roles, including as a software engineer, product manager and technical consultant. For the last ten years he has worked on a range of open data projects across the public and private sector. He also chairs the Bath: Hacked volunteer group, exploring use of open data in Bath & North East Somerset.

Open property data for decision-making and innovation

Natalie Record

Open data relating to the built environment is hard to find, use and trust. When found, data is rarely standardised which makes it difficult to link to other data sets and build up a holistic picture, both nationally and at a hyperlocal level. In this talk, Natalie will explore why there is a pressing need to increase access to unique open identifiers and geospatial data sets (non-personal) relating to places and property to inform decision-making and enable the emerging PropTech sector to innovate new solutions to help overcome housing and planning challenges.

Natalie leads on Digital Housing and Planning Policy at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in the Digital Land team. The team works in the open to help local government, policymakers and the PropTech sector to get better access to trusted land, planning and housing data to build new services. Natalie has a background in Urban Planning and co-founded a PropTech startup, Walulel, in 2016 before moving on to work on the wider digital transformation of planning through policy roles in local and central government.

Open source software for scientific and parallel computing public data centers and in computational science, open-source software plays a key role to create a productive environment for researchers.

Computational science is the modeling and simulation of the laws of nature within computer systems that offer a well-defined environment for experimental investigation. Models for climate, protein folding, or nanomaterials, for example, can be simulated and manipulated at will without being restricted by the laws of nature, and scientists no longer have to conduct time-consuming and error-prone experiments in the real world. This method leads to new observations and understandings of phenomena that would otherwise be too fast or too slow to comprehend in vitro. The processing of observational data like sensor networks, satellites, and other data-driven workflows is yet another challenge as it usually dominated by the input/output of data.

Complex climate and weather simulations can have 100.000 to million lines of codes and must be maintained and developed further for a decade at least. Therefore, scientific software is mostly open-source, particularly for large scale simulations and bleeding-edge research in a scientific domain.

This month we’ll be hosting our evening of talks online. You can join remotely from the comfort of your own home to listen to the speakers and chat in realtime with the other attendees.

18:15 – Join online meeting to chat with other participants

18:30 – Short introduction (5 min) of the evening by Julian Kunkel — Slides

18:35 – Presentations

20:35 – Close

We were live streaming via GoToWebinar and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube.

The videos are now published on YouTube and slides are linked below.


Open Source Software in High-Performance Computing

Shane Canon, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/NERSC, USA

High-Performance Scientific Computing is heavily dependent on a rich ecosystem of open-source software.  The HPC community is both a consumer and a contributor to the broader open-source community.  In this presentation, we will review the evolution of open-source software use in HPC, give examples of how the HPC community has contributed to its growth, and the future direction of open-source in HPC.

Some lessons learned from creating and using the Ceph open-source storage system

Carlos Maltzahn, UC Santa Cruz, USA
In 2005 at UC Santa Cruz, Sage Weil created a fully functional parallel file system we called Ceph. In 2006 we open-sourced Ceph under the LGPLv2 license. After his graduation in 2007, Sage was able to continue working on Ceph, built a community around it, got the Ceph client accepted into the Linux kernel in 2010, achieved production readiness in 2012, founded the startup Inktank in 2012, and sold it to Red Hat in 2014 for $175m. Sage then donated $2m to UC Santa Cruz to create a structure that would help other students to have a similar career at the university as he had. In 2015 I kicked off the Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS). Meanwhile, starting in 2009 I built a research program around programmable storage systems and decided to use Ceph as the primary research prototyping platform. As Ceph became more widely used, that choice gained a positive impact on the job prospects of our students, on the generality of our research results, on the funding prospects of our research, and on the pace of delivering research.
In this talk, I will report on some of the lessons learned, including how our use of Ceph as a research platform evolved and why an open-source storage system like Ceph can fundamentally change the dynamics of research and entire industries. I will end with a quick overview of the SkyhookDM project (
Bio: Dr. Carlos Maltzahn is the founder and director of the UC Santa Cruz Center for Research in Open Source Software (CROSS). Dr. Maltzahn also co-founded the Systems Research Lab, known for its cutting-edge work on programmable storage systems, big data storage & processing, scalable data management, distributed system performance management, and practical reproducible evaluation of computer systems. Carlos joined UC Santa Cruz in 2004, after five years at Netapp working on network-intermediaries and storage systems. In 2005 he co-founded and became a key mentor on Sage Weil’s Ceph project. In 2008 Carlos became a member of the computer science faculty at UC Santa Cruz and has graduated nine Ph.D. students since. Carlos graduated with a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from University of Colorado at Boulder.

High Performance Computing in a world of Data Science

Martin Callaghan, University of Leeds, UK

Slides as PDF

Universities and other research organisations have developed and used High Performance Computing (HPC) systems for a number of years to support problems solving across many computational domains including Computational Fluid Dynamics and Molecular Dynamics.  Their design features such as a batch processing system and a fast interconnect make them ideal to support these often highly parallel tools and applications.

In recent years though, with the increased interest in Data Science across a number of research fields, HPC has found itself in the position of having to support quite different tools and methodologies.

In this talk, I’ll discuss the design journey we have taken for our institutional HPC, some of the Open Source projects, tools and techniques we use with our research colleagues to support Data Science problems and some of our plans for the future.

Martin Callaghan Research Computing Manager and lead the Research Software Engineering team at the University of Leeds in the UK, where we provide High Performance Computing (HPC), Programming and Software Development consultancy across a diverse research community. My role involves Research Software Engineering, training, consultancy and outreach.

He also manages a comprehensive HPC and Research Computing training programme designed to be a ‘zero to hero’ structured introduction to HPC, Cloud and research software development.

Before joining the University of Leeds, he worked as an Engineer designing machine tool control systems, a teacher and ran my own training and consultancy business. Personal research interests are in text analytics, particularly using neural networks to summarise text at scale.


Note: Please aim to connect at the latest by 18:25 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

LoRaWAN: Long Range Wireless for the Internet Of Things

LoRaWAN is a Long Range Wide Area Networking technology that has been quietly sitting in the background of many IoT systems for several years now. This month we’ll hear from speakers who were early adopters of the technology. We’ll find out what is it, how it works and, most importantly, what they have achieved with it.

This month we’ll be hosting our evening of talks online. You can join remotely from the comfort of your own home to listen to the speakers and chat in realtime with the other attendees.

18:15 – Join online meeting to chat with other participants
18:30 – Presentations
20:30 – Close

Please register on Eventbrite for a free ticket. We shall be live streaming via GoToWebinar and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube.

Join via GoToWebinar here: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Andrew Tierney

Andrew Tierney presents a talk on hacking smart thermostats


The Things Network 5 years on

Mike Beardmore

Mike Beardmore describes the success of Reading's smart city programme with the Things Network

Amazing how time flies! Mike looks at how LPWAN has progressed since he first got involved with The Things Network in 2015. He will look at the technology (radio, devices and code) involved, how to build and deploy your project, and finish with a look to the future of TTN with 5G arriving.

Mike Beardmore has surfed the wave of opportunities for a creator since the transistor replaced the ‘tube’. A life of learning about constant change has been a foundation for working with the recent LPWAN blooming. An active Maker using additive & subtractive tools, he is an advocate for Hackspaces, OpenSource and Creative Commons.

LoRa trials (and tribulations)

Paul Tanner

Paul Tanner shows a graph of air pollution collected from an BuggyAir sensor

A few years ago a group of us came together to see what we could do about measuring actual pollution levels “where you are”. We were disappointed that the only hyper-localised data available came from hard-to-trust models that used widely-spaced sensors.

We won some funding to build and test a prototype based on good quality sensors that communicated via a connected smart phone to a cloud-based data store, the data being visualised on a web app. This allowed people to compare alternative routes and select the best ones.

The main feedback from these trials was that we needed to make the device much easier to use, smaller and lighter so we looked at ways to make the sensor self-contained.

Along came LoRaWAN as one way to achieve this. The prototype was completely redesigned and we have been testing and refining that since. Unhappily, trialling with schools is currently suspended for obvious reasons but we think we are getting there.

The talk will be about our learnings and future options under consideration.

Paul Tanner is an experienced engineer and project manager. He has held management
positions in several tech startups and developed numerous electronic and software products. He has worked on a diverse range of IT projects in the roles of CTO, project manager, developer and architect.

Paul’s recent projects have been focused on practical implementation of the “Internet of Things”. These have included two consumer energy portals, an assisted living care-in-the-home system, an assistive street and an energy-optimised smart house and
(currently) a portable pollution monitor. He has also been an advisor and beta tester for a smart heating product.

Paul now focuses on “public good” projects, especially in renewable energy, assisted living and cleantech. He is open to whatever roles are appropriate either as an individual or by bringing in a small team.

Paul is a graduate of MIT with a BS in Electrical Engineering. Whilst not busy with his family he is a “maker” and clean energy enthusiast.

Note: Please aim to connect by 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

Open Source in Government

At this evening meeting in London, we’ll be looking at how Open Source is used in Government.

18:00 – Tea, coffee
18:30 – Presentation
20:30 – Close

Please register on Eventbrite for a free ticket. Or, we shall be live streaming via GoToWebinar and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube.

Join via GoToWebinar here: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Open Source Excuses – busting the myths

Terence Eden

Why don’t government departments and NHS organisations want to adopt open source? This talk looks at common reasons given. It will give you real life examples of barriers to coding in the open, and practical tips for adopting open source.

Terence Eden is the Head of Open Technology for NHSX. He is a technology & policy expert. He teaches government courses on AI and ethics. He was formerly the UK Government’s representative to the W3C. He speaks around the world on open standards, open source software, and open data.

Current political challenges and opportunities for Open Source in Europe

Astor Nummelin Carlberg

The campaign to save Open Source development from the EU’s Copyright Directive was indicative of the current status of Open Source advocacy in the EU—while ultimately successful, it was more reactive than proactive. The most important lesson from this campaign was that Open Source was not targeted by policy makers, simply forgotten and misunderstood. This suggests that while Open Source has gone mainstream, Open Source advocacy has not kept up.

As there are both more opportunities and regulatory risks for Open Source in the European Union, more, if not all, Open Source community stakeholders need to increase their capacity to deal with policy making. At the least, we need to make sure that Open Source never again becomes an unintended regulatory casualty. There are several very tangible steps that can be taken to do this. Since Open Source is becoming ubiquitous at the same time as there is an eagerness to regulate tech in the EU, the time is now to mature Open Source advocacy and increase its effectiveness.

Astor Nummelin Carlberg is OpenForum Europe’s Policy Director, responsible for policy development and advocacy. Before joining the team he was an Accredited Parliamentary Assistant in the European Parliament, and has studied in the United States and Germany. He has extensive experience of European policy making processes, communications and catalysing networks and communities for advocacy impact.

Making the case for open with Governments

Irina Bolychevsky

Irina Bolychevsky is the founder and director of She’s a digital strategist and expert on data, open data, data platforms, standards, privacy and decentralised technology. She led the ckan open source data platform to international adoption, served on Open Knowledge Foundation’s senior management team and now as a board member and developed the personal data infrastructure programme within the UK’s Government Digital Service. She developed the Smart Dubai’s and UAE federal policy, regulatory, commercial and technical frameworks for data exchange and ran one of the first UK data trust pilots and researched digital identity for the Open Data Institute.

Women in Open Source

At this evening meeting online, we’ll be welcoming four women, all of whom are pursuing a career in open source. This is a joint meeting with BCS Women.

Please register on Eventbrite for a free ticket. We shall also be livestreaming via GoToMeeting, and later posting the videos on our YouTube channel for those who are unable to make it.

The importance of open standards in addressing Big Tech monopoly power

Irina Bolychevsky

From advocates, politicians and technologists, calls for doing something about big tech grow louder by the day. Yet concrete ideas are few or failing to reach the mainstream. This talk will cover what breaking up big tech would mean and why it’s not enough. Irina will propose an open intervention that will give people a real choice and a way out of controlled walled gardens. Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are not natural monopolies and we need to regulate them to support competition and alternative business models.

Irina Bolychevsky is the founder and director of She’s a digital strategist and expert on data, open data, data platforms, standards, privacy and decentralised technology. She led the ckan open source data platform to international adoption, served on Open Knowledge Foundation’s senior management team and now as a board member and developed the personal data infrastructure programme within the UK’s Government Digital Service. She developed the Smart Dubai’s and UAE federal policy, regulatory, commercial and technical frameworks for data exchange and ran one of the first UK data trust pilots and researched digital identity for the Open Data Institute.

See Ira talking on this topic on YouTube.

Modelling and simulating textiles with TexGen

Dr Lousie Brown

This talk will outline the development of the TexGen project, describing its use for modelling various types of textiles and the types of simulations which are run and the mechanical and manufacturing properties which can be predicted using the models. It will look at how it has been advantageous to release the software as open-source rather than taking a more traditional commercialisation route.

Dr Louise Brown is a Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Nottingham. She currently holds an EPSRC Research Software Engineering Fellowship on Software for Textile Modelling and Simulation. On completion of her PhD, Design of a Filament Winding Cell, she worked for several years in the Computer Science Department at Nottingham working on automated design tools for CAD systems for industrial embroidery machines. She worked from home as a self-employed software engineer for thirteen years before returning to the Composites Research Group at Nottingham in 2009. She is responsible for development of TexGen ( ), open source software for modelling the geometry of textile structures. The software has an increasing user base worldwide with over 41,000 downloads since its initial release in 2006. She has implemented new functionality to include modelling of the complex 3D weaves being used increasingly by the aerospace industry and is involved in research to optimise more complex textile structures.

Collaboration on the Kernel mailing lists

Dawn Foster

While there is quite a bit of data about the people and companies who commit Linux kernel code, there isn’t much data about how people work together on the kernel mailing lists where they decide what patches will be accepted. Using a few of the top subsystem mailing lists as examples, Dawn Foster will share her PhD research into how people collaborate on the kernel mailing lists, including network visualizations of mailing list interactions between contributors. You can expect to learn more about the people, their employers, and other data that impacts how people participate on the mailing lists. For example, do timezones influence collaboration? How about source code contributions? Dawn will also give a brief overview of her 20+ year career both before and after going back to school to get her PhD along with some information about her involvement in OpenUK.

Dawn is an open source strategist and Kubernetes contributor at Pivotal, now part of VMware. She has 20+ years of experience at companies like Intel and Puppet with expertise in community building, strategy, open source software, metrics, and more. She is passionate about bringing people together through a combination of online communities and real-world events along with analyzing the data associated with participation in developer and open source communities. Dawn is on the Governing Board of the Linux Foundation’s CHAOSS project and is a maintainer for several of the working groups. She is also on the board of OpenUK, a UK organisation committed to develop and sustain UK leadership in Open Technology. She holds a PhD from the University of Greenwich along with an MBA and a BS in Computer Science. She has spoken at dozens of industry events, including many Linux Foundation events, OSCON, SXSW, FOSDEM and more.

Towards A More Gender-Inclusive Open Source Community

Dr Becky Faith

Dr. Becky Faith is a Research Fellow and Leader of the Digital and Technology cluster at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex. Becky’s professional experience and research interests encompass gender and technology, mobile communication studies, human computer interaction and technology for social change.

Becky has fifteen years’ strategic and programme experience working in ICT for development and technology for human rights organisations. She started her career in digital start-ups, working on the UK’s first e-commerce platforms in the 1990s.

Becky will be talking about her research on  ‘Towards A More Gender-Inclusive Open Source Community’; which set out to better understand  why  women are underrepresented and do not always feel welcome or supported in open source communities. She will be talking about what the open source community can do to encourage participation by women around the world; what strategies work best to achieve greater participation? Conformist, reformist or transformist? Do we help women cope with the inequalities they face or do we try and address the transform the unequal power structures that underpin these issues?


London Open Source Meetup for RISC-V

This is our quarterly meetup for the London open source community, focusing on RISC-V, hosted by the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and the UK Open Source Hardware User Group.  These meetings provide an opportunity to share the latest ideas around open source in the RISC-V ecosystem, combined with plenty of time for networking. Please discuss, give feedback and suggest future topics on the London Open Source Meetup group event page.

At this evening meeting we have three talks on the MaxineVM on RISC-V, Embench on RISC-V and open source licensing with RISC-V.  One of our speakers, Florin-Gabriel Blanaru, was winner of the inaugural RISC-V Student of the Year competition.  At this meeting he will be presented with his award and then speak about his work. The presentation will be made by Mary Bennett, Chair of the RISC-V Foundation University Outreach committee.

Note. This meeting is at the new BCS London offices, 25 Copthall Ave, EC2R 7BP.

The talks will be live streamed and available on afterwards on the BCS Open Source Specialist Group YouTube channel.

Eventbrite - Open Source SG - London Open Source Meetup for RISC-V

Tea/coffee will be served from 6:00pm, with talks starting at 6:30pm. Each talk will last around 30 minutes and include plenty of time for questions, after which there will be opportunity to network both in the BCS  and later at the Globe pub round the corner.

We shall be livestreaming and recording the talks for later posting on YouTube via GoToWebinar. Registration details to follow shortly.  Please register at:

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

Free and Open Source Licensing and RISC-V

Andrew Katz, @andrewjskatz

Andrew will present the results of his research on the current state of open core licensing, and his thoughts on the direction of travel for licensing in the future. He will also give an update on the CERN Open Hardware licence, and how V2 has been redrafted with the concerns of developers of ASICs and FPGAs.

Andrew Katz, a partner at Moorcrofts LLP, is one of the UK’s leading free and open-source lawyers. He drafted the widely-used solderpad Open Hardware Licence and is on the core legal team for drafting the CERN Open Hardware licence. Andrew is a Fellow of the Free Software Foundation Europe and the Open Forum Academy, and for 7 years held the post of visiting lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a visiting researcher at the University of Skövde, Sweden where he has co-authored papers whose findings have been adopted into Swedish government policy. 

Andrew qualified as a barrister and was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1991, and has now re-qualified and practises as a solicitor in England and Wales. He is also an Irish solicitor (non-practising).

MaxineVM on RISC-V

Florin-Gabriel Blanaru

In this talk we will talk about MaxineVM’s, a metacircular research VM, in relationship to the RISC-V architecture.

A short overview of the current JVM ecosystem on the RISC-V architecture will be presented first.

Next we will proceed with a high level view of MaxineVM along with a description of the work that had to be accomplished for the RISC-V port.

A comparison of MaxineVM’s performance against OpenJDK Zero will follow and we will conclude with a description of our current and future research on safe code modification on architectures without SMC hardware support.

Florin-Gabriel Blanaru is currently a research software engineer at the University of Manchester.  During his bachelor’s degree at the University of Manchester, he successfully ported MaxineVM to the RISC-V architecture. He is interested in all the abstraction layers between the hardware and the programming languages, including computer architecture, operating systems and managed runtime systems. Florin is the inaugural winner of the RISC-V Student of the Year award.

Evaluating RISC-V using the Embench™ 0.5 Benchmark Suite

Jeremy Bennett, @jeremypbennett, @embenchorg

Dhrystone and Coremark have been the defacto standard microcontroller benchmark suites for the last thirty years, but these benchmarks no longer reflect the needs of modern embedded systems. Embench™ was explicitly designed to meet the requirements of modern connected embedded systems. The benchmarks are free, relevant, portable, and well implemented.

In this talk we will present the results of benchmarking RISC-V for various IoT class architectures using Embench. We shall look at what this tells us about the impact of architecture, compilers and libraries on how a system performs, both in terms of code size and code speed.  The aim is not to show which architecture, library or compiler is best, but to gain insight allowing all architectures to be improved.

Dr Jeremy Bennett is Chief Executive of Embecosm, a company based in the UK and Germany providing services developing open source compilers, operating systems and chip models. He is Vice-Chair of the Embench Task Group, and has been one of the main developers of the benchmark infrastructure.  Jeremy is a Fellow of the BCS where he serves as Chair of the Open Source Specialist Group.