XMas Special

December 16, 2021 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Julian Kunkel

December’s virtual event, with an XMas special. We will have exciting talks revolving around XMas AND open-source of course.

We planned for a hybrid event but due to the COVID development decided for a purely virtual event.

18:00 – OSSG Steering Committee meeting – Feel free to join
18:30 – Presentations (see below the agenda) – Youtube Playlist
20:30 – 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, where the OSSG committee will meet, and the event will start at 18:30 prompt. We’ll keep the link open afterward for discussion.

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Let there be light!” – the publicly programmable Christmas lights on Lymington Church tower

Peter Salisbury


Any member of the public is able to program a light show on the tower of St.Thomas Church in Lymington. The light shows use pixel-addressable ws2812 LED strips and RGB DMX flood lights. People can choose the light shows in real-time using any web browser, either from a list of already-programmed shows or by creating their own using a simple interface. Statistics are kept so that people can see which shows are the most popular etc. All the software in this system is open source.

Peter Salisbury was an electronics geek in his teens just as logic chips first hit the Maplin catalogue. From building computers in a cupboard he went to study Computation at UMIST, graduating in 1980. He worked in system tools with Burroughs Machines, then moved to language design and compiler writing for a Project Management company. In 1989 he moved to Salisbury to study theology in preparation for becoming a vicar. He was ordained in 1992 and is currently Vicar of Lymington on the south coast near Southampton. He has never really forgotten he’s a geek.


Breaking the AI sound barrier

Andy Thomason, Atomic Increment
Will Jones, Embecosm


Modern compiler technology combined with great leaps forward in computer hardware enable us to compute faster than ever.

Those who think that we have reached a “limit” on compute speed will be surprised to find that we are still becoming more efficient in the field of AI and statistics.

Despite the upper bound on clock speed, computer word size is getting even bigger and autovectorisation and multicore are the key to unlocking the potential of modern hardware without resorting to GPUs.

To achieve this we need to break away from the software of the 20th century and rediscover how to write good maths and stats functions that can go a hundred times or more faster than the code of previous generations on the same hardware.

Andy Thomason runs the extendr project, a Rust interface to the R programming language.  He has worked for many years in game development at the Psygnosis and Sony technology groups and has presented dozens of talks on game development for the BCS.  Andy wrote much of the PS3 and Vita compilers for Sony. After several decades of promoting C++ in game development, Andy now teaches Rust with Ferrous Systems and develops open source Rust libraries.

Dr Will Jones is head of AI and Machine Learning for Embecosm.  He recently completed his PhD at the University of Kent, which can be simply summarized as attempting to create a rigorous mathematical framework for the definition of artificial consciousness.

Building a Data Lake with Open Source Components

Hendrik Nolte, GWDG


Across various domains, data lakes are successfully utilized to centrally store all data of an organization in their raw format. This promises a high reusability of the stored data since a schema is implied on read, which prevents an information loss due to ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes. Despite this schema-onread approach, some modeling is mandatory to ensure proper data integration, comprehensibility, and quality. These data models are maintained within a central data catalog which can be queried. To further organize the data in the data lake, different architectures have been proposed, like the most widely known zone architecture. Here, data is assigned to different zones according to the processing they were subjected to. In this work, we present a novel data lake architecture based on FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) Digital Objects (FDO) with (high-performance) processing capabilities. The FAIR Digital Objects are connected by a provenance-centered graph. Users can define generic workflows, which are reproducible by design, making this data lake implementation ideally suited for science. During this talk, challenges and opportunities for open source software as elementary building blocks of a data lake will be discussed.

Hendrik Nolte ObtainedB.Sc & M.Sc. in Physics at the University of Göttingen. Since November 2019: At GWDG in the HPC-Team. Working on a third-party-funded project where a data lake is being built for MR images.


The Art of Coding || Is Coding Art?

Julian Kunkel, University of Göttingen/GWDG


We’ll investigate how coding itself is beautiful and shows parallels to arts. Code can be beautifully written, arranged, and generate appealing outputs. It is also artistic to cope with system limitations such as memory limitations while producing terrific results. Overall computer technology empowers users to become artists.

Dr. Kunkel is a Professor in High-Performance Computing at the University of Göttingen and the Deputy Head High-Performance Computing at GWDG.

The Cuttletree: Open source electronic decorations for your Christmas Tree

Jeremy Bennett, Embecosm


In 2018 Embecosm was entered a tree into the Lymington annual Christmas Tree exhibition.  The result was the cuttletree, a set of programmable decorations based on Saar Drimer’s Cuttlefish Arduino board.  For good measure the tree could be programmed remotely via Twitter, allowing the light pattern to be changed.  And of course everything is open source, even the Cuttlefish board design files!

Dr Jeremy Bennett is Chief Executive of Embecosm, a consultancy specialising in open source compilers, processor models, operating systems and AI/ML.  He is a former Chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group.