Archives: Events


July London Open Source Meetup for RISC-V

Our quarterly meetup for the London open source community, focusing on RISC-V and open source, 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.

Due to COVID-19 this will again be a purely virtual meetup. We’ll be live streaming using BigBlueButton to provide a rich online experience for participants. As always the talks will be recorded for later upload to YouTube. You are invited to join and socialize from 18:00, talks will run from 18:30-20:00 with 30 minutes at the end for further discussion and socializing.

There is no requirement to register, you can just connect to the livestream using BigBlueButton using this link.  Thank you to GWDG for providing hosting for this meeting.  We are also recording the talks for later posting on our YouTube channel.

The livestream link will be open from 18:00 for networking, and the event will start at 18:30 prompt. We’ll keep the link open afterwards for discussion.

Not a BCS member? Don’t worry! Our monthly newsletter provides the latest news, information and events in the world of IT. We’re here to keep you updated! Sign up today at campaign.bcs.org/bcs-supporter.  If you would just like to be added to the friends of the Open Source SG mailing list, then please send an email to ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk with subscribe in the subject.  You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing unsubscribe-ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk.

CFU Playground: Model-specific Acceleration on FPGAs

Tim Callahan, Google

This talk describes the CFU Playground, an open-source framework that an engineer, intern, or student can use to design and evaluate enhancements to an FPGA-based soft RISC-V processor, specifically to increase the performance of machine learning (ML) tasks through the addition of custom function units (CFUs). The goal is to abstract away most infrastructure details so that the user can get up to speed quickly and focus solely on adding new processor functions, exploiting them in the computation, and measuring the results.

The presentation describes the process of identifying hot spots in the code during an inference using a specific model, constructing a CFU to support new custom instructions, modifying the TensorFlow Lite kernel library to use these new instructions, measuring the results, and iterating. The goal is not to design a general ML accelerator; the goal is to jointly specialize the processor and ML kernels just for the model of interest.

All IP and software used is open sourced and licensed permissively — the open RISC-V ISA that allows new custom instructions, the VexRiscv soft core implementation, the LiteX system-on-chip IP, the Symbiflow FPGA toolchain, Renode and Verilator simulators, and TensorFlow Lite kernel libraries. Thus, the combined CPU, CFU, and kernel libraries that the user develops are not tied to any particular FPGA vendor; there are no licensing restrictions or fees; and there is no dependence on any black box proprietary tools.

Tim Callahan works at Google with the open source FPGA toolchain (Symbiflow) team. His work is to help make FPGA development more accessible, fun, and rewarding.More generally, he enjoys anything that involves optimizing the hardware/software boundary, He has degrees from UC Berkeley, Cambridge University, and the University of Minnesota.

Pineapple One: an open-source discrete 32-bit RISC-V CPU

Filip Szkandera,

This talk will be about a 32-bit homemade RISC-V CPU, made only out of discrete logic components and memories. There are no FPGAs nor any microcontrollers used and the whole project can be found on GitHub as open-source. The goal of this project is to introduce more people to RISC-V with a CPU that can be build by anybody who can solder. The presentation will be supplemented by a live demo of the CPU as well as some plans for the upcoming version.

Filip Szkandera is a student of Higher School and Secondary School of Electrotechnical Engineering in Olomouc, Czech Republic. He is interested in electronics, especially in building his own CPU(s). He is 19 years old.

Q&A with Olof Kindgren, creator of SERV

Olof Kindgren, FOSSi Foundation

The award-winning SERV is the world’s smallest RISC-V CPU. But how does it work, what makes it so small and what is it good for? This is your chance to participate in a fully immersive multimedia edutainment experience to learn all the answers.

Olof Kindgren is a senior digital design engineer working for Qamcom Research & Technology. He became actively involved with free and open source silicon through the OpenRISC project in 2011 and has since then worked on many FOSSi projects with a special interest in tools and collaborations. Notable work include the FuseSoc IP core package manager; SERV, the award-winning RISC-V CPU and SweRVolf, a reference platform for the SweRV CPU family. In 2015, he also co-founded FOSSi Foundation, a vendor-independent organization with the mission to promote and assist Open Source Silicon in academia, the industry and for hobbyists alike.


An evening on the theme of POWER & PowerPC

July’s virtual event, on the theme of IBM’s POWER ISA and PowerPC based hardware.  Featuring talks from PowerPC Notebook project and IBM on OpenPOWER.

AGENDA
18:00 – Feel free to join the online meeting to chat with other participants
18:30 – Presentations
20:00 – Closing discussion

There is no requirement to register, you can just connect to livestream using BigBlueButton using this link.  Thank you to GWDG for providing hosting for this meeting.  We are also recording the talks for later posting on our YouTube channel.

The livestream link will be open from 18:00 for networking, and the event will start at 18:30 prompt. We’ll keep the link open afterwards for discussion.

Not a BCS member? Don’t worry! Our monthly newsletter provides the latest news, information and events in the world of IT. We’re here to keep you updated! Sign up today at campaign.bcs.org/bcs-supporter.  If you would just like to be added to the friends of the Open Source SG mailing list, then please send an email to ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk with subscribe in the subject.  You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing unsubscribe-ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk.

Prepare yourself for the Open Hardware GNU/Linux PowerPC Laptop

Roberto Innocenti, Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook

We expect before the end of 2021 to see the life of the first three prototypes of Open Hardware GNU/Linux PowerPC Laptop. The project started in late 2014, After a brief summary of the previous episodes, we try to describe the scenarios of the immediate future of the project and how each person can be driven by a certain passion for both progress for all and how the sharing of knowledge can be a protagonist in this project.

Roberto Innocenti is one of the founders of the project Open Hardware PowerPC Notebook and an ambassador of the project. President of the association Power Progress Community which deals with the promotion and dissemination of free software and open hardware. Ambassador and responsible in the last humanist forums of the area “Technology for improving the living conditions of mankind”. Roberto is a software architect with Open Source tools, by profession.

OpenPOWER Overview and latest key collaborations with OpenPOWER Academia

Ganesan Narayanasamy, IBM

Ganesan Narayanasamy is an OpenPOWER/POWER leader for Academia and research at the IBM Lab. Ganesan is best known for his contributions to High Performance Computing as senior leader for nearly 1.5 decades. He is also leading the WW Academia work group for OpenPOWER and putting together OpenPOWER ECO System development activities like setting up OpenPOWER and AI center of excellence, OpenPOWER labs, Curriculum development etc. Ganesan is always passionate about working with Universities and research Institutes and provide all kinds of technical mentoring.

Concept to Silicon Tape out using OpenPOWER Cores

Arjun Nag

Arjun Nag has been leading Design Verification field of VLSI for more than a decade with hands on experience in System Verilog , Verilog and VHDL.  He has been mentoring many researchers in SoC , RTL related areas.


Open Source in Student Activities

On this thematic evening, students illustrate on their research project how open source and data matters to them.

We organize this event annually to give students space to talk about their projects; the talks should be around 20 minutes (including 2-3 min discussion). If you are interested to give a talk, contact us!

Once again, due to COVID-19 it will be a purely virtual meetup. We’ll be live streaming using BigBlueButton to provide a rich online experience for participants. As always the talks will be recorded for later upload to YouTube. You are invited to join and socialize from 18:00, talks will run from 18:30-20:30 with 30 minutes in the end for further discussion and socializing.

In a change to our past practice, there is no requirement to register, you can just connect to BigBlueButton on this link.

AGENDA
18:20 – Feel free to join the online meeting to chat with other participants

18:30 – Short introduction (5 min) of the evening by Julian Kunkel and Cornelia Boldyreff

18:35 – Presentations

20:35 – Closing Discussion

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

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

The videos are available on YouTube.

Smart Mapping of Scientific Workflows onto Heterogeneous Resources

New and accelerated hardware is constantly being added to the HPCs and Data Centers, increasing the heterogeneity of the scientific simulation environments. To increase the performance of a simulation by better utilizing the allocated resources requires detailed knowledge about the underlying hardware. Mapping tasks to heterogeneous resources is a complex (NP-Complete) problem on its own. If we can create an abstract way to structure a workflow so that it can choose the best mapping by utilizing accelerated hardware, we can address both of the aforementioned problems. Having well-defined operators with associated performance models, we can predict a task’s makespan on a given host, accurately. This prediction can then be used within evolutionary mapping techniques to help explore a near-optimal solution where underlying heterogeneous hardware resources are better utilized with specialized implementations. A workflow, based on such an abstraction, will be able to adapt itself to new hosting environments with minimal change. Having this headspace, scientists can spend time on improving their model/simulation not on intrinsic details required to adapt their workflow to new environments.

Erdem Yilmaz is a software engineer, working at Ultromics, United Kingdom. Progressing on his research project to full-fill the requirements of a PhD in Computer Science Dept. of University of Reading, United Kingdom.

 

Diabetic Retinopathy Classification using Deep Learning’

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is a highly prevalent complication of diabetes mellitus, which causes lesions on the retina that affect vision which may lead to blindness if it
is not detected and diagnosed early. Convolutional neural networks (CNN) are becoming the state-of-the-art approach for automatic detection of DR by using fundus images. The high-level features extracted by CNN are mostly utilised for the detection and classification of lesions on the retina. This high-level representation is capable of classifying different DR classes; however, more effective features for detecting the
damages are needed. This research work proposes the multi-scale attention network (MSA-Net) for DR classification. The proposed approach applies the encoder network
to embed the retina image in a high-level representational space, where the combination of mid and high-level features is used to enrich the representation. Then a multi-scale feature pyramid is included to describe the retinal structure in a different locality. Furthermore, to enhance the discriminative power of the feature representation a multi-scale attention mechanism is used on top of the high-level
representation. The model is trained in a standard way using the cross-entropy loss to classify the DR severity level. In parallel as an auxiliary task, the model is trained using
the weakly annotated data to detect healthy and non-healthy retina images. This surrogate task helps the model to enrich its discriminative power for distinguishing the non-healthy retina images. The proposed method when implemented has achieved outstanding results on two public datasets: EyePACS and APTOS.

Mohammad T. Al-Antary received the B.Sc. degree in computer information systems from The University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan, in 2015, and the M.Sc. degree in enterprise systems and
database administration/computing and information systems from the University of Greenwich, U.K., in 2017, where he is currently pursuing the Ph.D. degree in computing and information systems with the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. He is currently working as a Teaching Assistant with the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences, University of Greenwich. His research and professional interests include data science, medical image processing, machine learning, business intelligence, and big data.

 

Breaking through the Chinese walls to the open-source and data for my research project

Open source plays important role in many different fields, especially in research. The research project I’m currently working on is not an exception, its goal is to explore the application of machine and deep learning methods in algorithmic trading with the main focus on the trading strategy. In this process I need at least three core components available in open access:

  • Prior research papers in this field
  • Code for the machine learning models described in these papers
  • Data-sets used for training and testing these models

At the beginning of my project, I expected to easily open source all of these, however, in each of these three dimensions I encountered challenges of two kinds: availability and quality. I would like to share on the upcoming thematic evening what are the particular open sourcing challenges I am experiencing and how I’m overcoming these Chinese walls.

Ilya Zaznov is a PhD student in the department of Computer Science, University of Reading, UK. His PhD research area is an application of machine/deep learning methods to the algorithmic trading. The main topic of the thesis is formulated as “Application of Deep Learning methods to the Limit Order Book and Order Flow Data for Stock Price Prediction”.

Performance of the S3 interface (Amazon Simple Storage Service) in an HPC environment

The line between HPC and Cloud is getting blurry. Performance is still the main driver in HPC, on the other hand, cloud storage systems assume to offer low-latency, high throughput, high availability, and scalability. The Simple Storage Service S3 has emerged as the de-facto storage API for object-storage in the Cloud. It is inevitable to assess its performance for HPC workloads and to check if it is already a viable alternative, or if further advances are necessary.

Frank Gadban is a PhD student at the Hamburg University, currently investigating the Convergence between HPC and Cloud.

 

Enhancing Social Skills of Children with ASD by Assistive Technology

This research aims to investigate the potential of combining virtual environments with social robots as a novel approach to address some of their limitations and train the social skills of children with high-functioning autism (ASD). A non-immersive (desktop) virtual reality environment that employs a 3D robot has been designed. The developed environment aims to enhance the social skills of children with high-functioning ASD through a social skills training program guided by a parent or a teacher. The motivation of this research is to provide a tool that can be widely accessible, cheap and easily used by parents and teachers either at home or at school. The developed training program targets three social skills: imitation skills, emotion recognition skills, and intransitive gestures skill. The experimental sessions have been conducted online and on-site. 15 children with ASD (4-12 years) participated in this study. The participants were taught to recognize 6 basic emotions and 11 intransitive gestures (Phase I), to imitate these emotions and gestures (Phase II), and to produce them in appropriate social contexts (Phase III). Across all the three phases for each skill, significant differences were found between the results of the pre-test, post-test, and follow-up test.

Maha Abdelmohsen is a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich, London. She is conducting research related to autism and how assistive technology can enhance their social skills. She developed a free desktop virtual environment tool for training the social skills of children with ASD.

 

Dynamic Image Representations for Crowd Anomaly Detection using Generative Adversarial Networks

Anomaly detection within crowded environments is a key challenge in the crowd behaviour understanding and computer vision fields. Application of crowd anomaly detection has improved recently, however, advancements of accuracy and computation (processing power and time) are still required. The proposed framework presents an approach to crowd behaviour anomaly detection using dynamic image representations as an alternative to optical flow extractions for temporal development feature extraction. The features are used in conjunction with image-to-image translation using conditional generative adversarial networks (CGANs) for anomaly detection within crowds. The proposed framework is evaluated on standard benchmark datasets as well as the high-density dataset (AHDCrowd). The experimental results obtained have demonstrated the efficacy of this approach in comparison to the state-of-the-art crowd anomaly detection methods.

Samar Mahmoud is a PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich, London. She is currently investigating the possible enhancement of crowd anomaly detection using CGANs and dynamic image representations. She has also created a public abnormal high-density crowd (AHDCrowd) dataset for researchers to train and test crowd anomaly detection methods. 


Open Source in Space

By popular request we are providing an evening on open source in space. Three great talks with three international speakers. We’ll have a broad discussion of the area from Eleftherios Kosmas of the LibreSpace foundation, how to make space accessible to all from Artur Scholz of LibreCube, and finally how to explore space from the comfort of your armchair with Alexander Bock of OpenSpace.

Our MC for the evening is Bill Harpley

AGENDA
18:00 – Feel free to join the online meeting to chat with other participants
18:30 – Presentations
20:00 – Closing discussion

There is no requirement to register, you can just connect to livestream using BigBlueButton on this link.  We are also recording the talks for later posting on our YouTube channel.

The livestream link will be open from 18:00 for networking, and the event will start at 18:30 prompt. We’ll keep the link open afterwards for discussion.

Not a BCS member? Don’t worry! Our monthly newsletter provides the latest news, information and events in the world of IT. We’re here to keep you updated! Sign up today at campaign.bcs.org/bcs-supporter.  If you would just like to be added to the friends of the Open Source SG mailing list, then please send an email to ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk with subscribe in the subject.  You can unsubscribe at any time by emailing unsubscribe-ossgnonmem@lists.bcs.uk.

Claiming Space the Libre Way: From a basement workshop to orbit

Eleftherios Kosmas, Libre Space Foundation

Libre Space Foundation is a non-profit organisation aiming to alleviate the barriers of participating in space for all. To do so, our community develops, open-source hardware, free software open-data in a transparent way following the principles of the Libre Space Manifesto (https://manifesto.libre.space), ranging from satellite ground-station equipment to satellite missions.

This talk will cover some of the Libre Space Foundation’s projects, the underlying open-source technologies used in these projects ranging from Python, Django, Machine learning, Grafana, GNU-Radio, embedded development, PCB design using KiCad, Mechanical Engineering using FreeCAD and more while discussing pathways to participate.

Finally, this talk will discuss the relevancy of open-source development methodologies in space based on a report we recently generated for the European Space Agency focusing on the challenges and opportunities organisations face in adopting them in an efficient and sustainable way.

Eleftherios Kosmas is the vice-chair of Libre Space Foundation, a member of the local hackerspace in Athens, Greece and a technologist at the University of Athens.

LibreCube – Open Source Ecosystem for Space and Earth Exploration

Artur Scholz, LibreCube

LibreCube’s vision is to enable everyone to get involved in building systems for exploration of Earth and Space using open source hardware and software. We believe that discovering new worlds and getting scientific insights should be a matter to all humankind.

Without doubt, CubeSats have sparked a revolution towards access to space for students, radio amateurs, new-space start-ups, and space enthusiasts in general. In short, CubeSats have allowed a much broader audience to establish their own space projects.

Currently there are overwhelming many entities and people engaged in building CubeSats but still collaboration and knowledge exchange is at a minimum. There is almost no single academic institute that shares detailed CubeSat design information. Also, today’s CubeSat developers are mainly concerned with system integration; they purchase CubeSat equipment from different vendors and struggle with putting it all together. With all these products being largely incompatible and complex, CubeSat failures rates are accordingly high.

At LibreCube we are convinced that CubeSats provide an ideal opportunity to prove that things can be done differently, not only in terms of technology, but also on how to implement and conduct space missions. We do not object commercialization of CubeSats, but we favour an open market where more weight is put on collaboration than on competition.

LibreCube is resting on these three pillars:

  1. Open Source: Everything we do at LibreCube is made available to the public as free and open source. And we only use free and open source tools; this way, really everyone can get involved and contribute!
  2. Free and Open Standards: We rely on proven and tested standards for our system designs, with preference to standards from the space domain.
  3. Reference Architecture: Defining a generic architecture of system of systems that have standardized interfaces makes it possible to combine and reuse elements for various applications.

In this presentation, you will be given an overview on some current LibreCube projects with examples on their utilization. You will also learn on how you can actively join LibreCube and what practical space engineering skills and knowledge you can expect out of it – next to a lot of fun!

During my time at university I have managed to realize two CubeSats missions, all the way from idea on paper up to orbit. Only later I understood that building CubeSats is fun, but even more so doing it collaborativly with an open source community. That is when I started the LibreCube Initative in my spare time a few years ago, which now has about 100+ supporters and 20+ space related projects.

I am employed at VisionSpace and working for ESA, supporting two interplanetary exploration missions: Cluster-II that studies the Earth’s magnetosphere and JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) to be launched in 2022.

librecube.org/people/artur-scholz/

OpenSpace: An open-source astrovisualization framework to visualize the universe

Alexander Bock, Linköping University

In this talk I will present and demonstrate the NASA-funded open-source framework OpenSpace, which is a flexible tool for astronomy and visualization research built exclusively on open-source technology, developed in collaboration between Linköping University, the American Museum of Natural History, NASA’s Community Coordinated Modeling Center, New York University, and the University of Utah. The software is a scalable platform that paves the way for the next generation of public outreach by enabling the same visualization in immersive environments, such as dome theaters and planetariums, and off-the-shelf computer hardware and provides the user with the ability to ingest a myriad of different data formats. Some of the key features of the framework are GlobeBrowsing, which enables contextualization of very high resolution planetary surface imagery, the interactive visualization of large star fields, exemplified on the >1 billion stars of the Gaia DR2 dataset, dynamic image projection used to visualize timeline of spacecraft missions, such as the New Horizons and Rosetta missions, and seamlessly traversing the about 10^20 meters to the edge of the observable universe.

The talk will contain a brief introduction into the software framework, its origins, and the design principles behind it. Additionally, each stop along this journey will include a brief description of the implementation considerations and the required astronomy background.

Alexander Bock is an Assistant Professor at Linköping University, Sweden. Prior to this, he has been Moore-Sloan Data Science Fellow with the Center for Data Science at New York University and a Research Fellow with the Scientific Computing and Imaging Institute at the University of Utah. He received his PhD in Visualization and Interaction from Linköping University, Sweden. In 2015, he was a visiting Research Scholar with the Community Coordinated Modeling Center at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, USA. He is also the Development Lead on the open-source Astrovisualization software OpenSpace. Bock was awarded 2014 and 2015 with the Best Scientific Visualization poster and 2017 with the Best Scientific Visualization paper awards at the IEEE Visualization conference for his work in the field of Astrovisualization.