Excited to announce that in a little over a month we will be jointly
hosting with BCS OSSG, a 1-day workshop that will serve as an
introduction to FPGAs and Verilog, via the most excellent project
IceStorm/Yosys/Arachne-pnr open source toolchain and myStorm iCE40
You can find details below and note that at the time of writing there
is a mistake on the BCS event page and the timing is 09:00-17:00, as
on the OSHUG page.
Place are limited, FPGA workshops have proven highly popular in the
past and so if you would like to take part, I'd suggest registering
sooner rather than later. However, please only register if you are
confident that you can make it, as the workshop will likely sell out
fairly quickly and we'd prefer to avoid having a waiting list and then
empty seats on the day.
Note that the venue for this is the RSA and not the BCS.
There will also be a regular meeting in the evening, but at a
different venue and further details will be provided in due course.
On the 1 December 2016, 09:00 - 17:00 at Prince Philip Room, The Royal
Society of Arts, 8 John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ.
A full day, hands-on FPGA programming workshop that is free to attend.
The regular monthly meeting will then follow in the evening, but at a
different venue and for details see the OSHUG No. 54 event page (to be
Please note that if you intend to attend both the workshop and evening
meeting, you must register separately for each of these!
— Workshop details
In this workshop we will build some basic Verilog blocks and modules
targeting low power, low cost FPGAs from the Lattice iCE40 series. The
workshop will operate using a complete open source Verilog toolchain
based around Yosys and Arachne-PNR, which can be run on Linux and OS
X. We will cover basic sequential and combinational logic blocks. In
addition we will show you how you can combine simple ARM
microcontroller code running alongside and communicating with Verilog
peripherals synthesised on a Lattice iCE40 FPGA, all running together
This workshop will give participants a real taste of FPGA development
in an open source software environment, using open source hardware.
* Ken Boak started his professional career at BBC Research Department
in 1986 working on digital signal processing systems for HDTV and
subsequently over 30 years, a mix of 10 other technology companies,
both UK and US based, in the fields of instrumentation, automation,
Ken has been interested in energy monitoring since the early 1990s,
when he constructed a 4 seater electric car, and provided rudimentary
energy analysis of the battery charge and discharge cycles. In 1998 he
joined a South London company and designed a low power wireless,
monitor device for automatic, remote gas and electricity meter
In 2009 Ken worked on the Onzo Energy Monitoring Kit, a commercial
device that was ultimately distributed to Southern Electric customers.
Then in 2010 he produced a series of educational devices to teach
engineering undergraduates the principles of photovoltaic energy
Ken has continued his interests in energy monitoring, working
collaboratively with Megni on the OpenEnergyMonitor project, the open
Inverter Project and also for All Power Labs in Berkeley, California,
where he was involved in power monitoring of wood gasifier generator
sets. He tries to live a low impact lifestyle in a modest Edwardian
house in Surrey, with a little help from modern electronics.
* Alan Wood has been working with parallel distributed programming for
several decades. His recent work includes smart grids, 3D printers,
robotics, automation and biotec diagnostics. His current research is
focused on machine learning for embedded applications using Motes on
FPGA and emerging Asics. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka
Folknology) for xCORE and other opensource communities, as well as a
founder of Surrey and Hampshire Makerspace.
— What to bring
Participants must bring a laptop computer and ideally one that is
running either Linux or OS X. If your laptop is running Windows, you
should also bring along a Raspberry Pi or similar Linux SBC, that you
can use to build the toolchain and program myStorm over USB.
Note: Please aim to arrive by 08:45 as the workshop will start at 09:00 prompt.
Please feel free to forward this to those that would welcome it.
* Event: Manchester Free Software's October Meeting
* Talk: BeagleBoard-X15: First look
* Speaker: Michael Dorrington
* Date: Tuesday, 18th October 2016 (3rd Tuesday of the month)
* Start time: 19:00
* Finish time: 20:30 (and then on for social)
* Location: Madlab. (Manchester Digital Laboratory).
* Address: 36-40 Edge Street, Manchester. M4 1HN.
- Opposite "Common" on Edge Street, Northern Quarter.
== Details ==
The purpose of Manchester Free Software is to promote the Free Software
Every meeting we start with an opportunity for informal key signing.
For an explanation of what this is about see:
The meeting will be a talk and then discussion on the talk. After this
we will discuss event work.
=== Talk ===
The BeagleBoard.org Foundation have designed a series of ARM based Free
Hardware computers that are Free Software friendly. Manchester Free
Software have previously demonstrated one model, the BeagleBone Black,
running a Wi-Fi mesh network and FreedomBone.
The designs up to and including the BeagleBone Black are similar to the
Raspberry Pi, but for people who care about freedom. BeagleBoard.org
have now designed ARM based Free Hardware computer that is more like a
desktop computer and about the size of a NUC.
The BeagleBoard-X15 has some in particularly interesting features:
* 2 real Gigabit Ethernet ports
* 2G RAM
* USB 3.0
* Lots of other I/O capability.
Mass production of hardware has been delayed but we have an early low
volume revision to demonstrate.
In the talk we will explore the BeagleBoard-X15 including live demos and
If you have experience of Beagleboard.org hardware, other Free Hardware,
ARM devices, U-Boot or similar then please consider giving a lightning
talk at the meeting.
=== Event work ===
Discuss the GNOME 3.22 release party that happened on 23rd September and
MFS organising a Debian 9 (Stretch) release party when it is released
sometime next year.
== After-meeting ==
The meeting will be followed by informal discussion and socialising in
the Terrace (which is next door to Madlab). There are soft drinks
available and there is no pressure to consume alcohol.
== Location ==
The meeting will take place at the usual venue of Madlab, details above.
== Transport ==
=== Parking ===
Around the venue there are parking meter bays that become zero cost
after 8pm on Tuesday so you will have to pay up until then and the
maximum stay is 2 hours BUT MAKE SURE YOU VERIFY ALL THIS on parking.
There are paid parking lots around the venue, they are marked by a blue
P in this OpenStreetMap centred on Madlab
<http://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/53.4843/-2.2365>. Most of those
parking lots are owned by NCP <http://www.ncp.co.uk/>.
If you can’t decide otherwise then park in Manchester Arndale
=== Public Transport ===
Manchester Victoria (MCV) train station, Shudehill tram and bus station,
and Manchester Piccadilly bus station are all fairly close to Madlab,
see OpenStreetMap centred on Madlab
Manchester Piccadilly (MAN) train station and Manchester Central Coach
Station are not too far away either.
== More Information ==
Information about Manchester Free Software can be found on the
Manchester Free Software pages on LibrePlanet
FSF member #9429
"The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit with a worldwide
mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all
free software users."
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In addition to our four talks on the Light Theremin, Silicon Chip
Design for the Masses, The Algorithm Visualizer and the MyStorm FPGA
board, we have an extra talk this coming Thursday.
Nick Pelling (who older members will remember as Orlando M Pilchard)
will give a lightning talk on "Open Source Research" linked to his
recently announced KickStarter project.
Nick Pelling is programmer by day. By night he conducts open source
research on his blog http://ciphermysteries.com/. He uses the blog to
summarize what he finds, to post transcriptions and translations of
sources, and to actively invite comments and corrections from readers
(the blog has just passed 2 million hits and 19000 comments).
He recently launch a KickStarter project to fund a documentary about
his open source research into pirate treasure on Mauritius
In this lightning talk he'll introduce the concept of open source
research and how it drives his KickStarter project.
Nick Pelling is a British-born computer programmer and inventor, best
known for a series of 1980s video games for the BBC Micro and
Commodore 64 programmed under the pen name Orlando M. Pilchard or
simply Orlando, and released under the company title Aardvark Software.
Nick has a degree in Maths and Philosophy from Manchester University
and an MBA with Distinction from Kingston University.
Registration is free as always, but sign up soon, so I order the right
amount of food and drink!
See you there.
Tel: +44 (1590) 610184
Cell: +44 (7970) 676050
PGP key: 1024D/BEF58172FB4754E1 2009-03-20
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Our new season starts with four talks on Thursday 20 October.
We'll be hearing from the three winners of the BCS OSSG student competion.
- Dan Gorringe on the AAP FPGA implementation and his new supercomputer
- Chelsea Back on her open source Light Theremin
- Luke A Roberts on visualizing algorithms
Dan has promised to bring his supercomputer with him!
The evening will round off with a talk by Ken Boak & Alan Wood on the
MyStorm project, an ultra low cost (£20) FPGA board. We'll be running a
full day workshop to allow you to get your hands on the first of these
boards on 1 December. This project is particularly dear to our hearts,
because it arose from discussion in the pub following our May meeting.
Hear how they went from pub discussion to production in 100 days.
The meeting will be preceded by our AGM, to select the new BCS OSSG
committee. More volunteers are welcome and you don't have to be a BCS
Full details of all the talks here:
And free registration here:
I look forward to seeing you there.
Tel: +44 (1590) 610184
Cell: +44 (7970) 676050
PGP key: 1024D/BEF58172FB4754E1 2009-03-20